Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stuffed Bell Pepper, Tex-Mex style

You will need a sweet bell pepper for this, orange or yellow-- they really compliment the spicy hot sauce and rice. I intended on baking the stuffed peppers, but found out I preferred them tender and still crunchy. Cook em at the end if you want the peppers even softer. Without the baking step, this was a quick, finger-food dinner that's easily doubled to feed 2 people.

Makes two stuffed pepper halves -OR- one 'whole' stuffed pepper (a half is shown above).
25 minutes; (45 minutes with baking)
Preheat oven to 350 F
-medium saucepan
-medium (or large) pot
-cookie sheet covered with Aluminum foil (if baking)
Quick and simple

1 large orange or yellow bell pepper
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. uncooked white long grain rice
1/2 c. water, for cooking rice
1/4 lb ground beef
+6 heaping tbsp. favorite GF salsa (I used my own, but I think Pace Picante sauce is GF)
2 tbsp. chili powder*
1 tbsp. ground cumin*
cheese for topping

*McCormick spices are GF

1. Coarsely cut onion into small-ish pieces. Wash and core the bell pepper.. either remove the stem and leave as is (hole on top, forming sort of a mug) -OR- remove the stem and cut downward lengthwise, so that the pepper is halved into shallow-er bowls. I liked the bowls, since you could eat it with your fingers and they will for sure cook with the rice.
2. Begin cooking rice: pour uncooked rice into water and heat over 'high'. Place bell pepper halves into the same pot just when the rice begins to boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, stirring every so often to evenly cook the bell pepper.
3. While rice/pepper is cooking, place washed ground beef into medium saucepan. Start cooking over medium heat. When the meat is browned (outside no longer pink ~ 5 minutes), add in the chopped onion. Season generously with chili powder and cumin. Cook onion and meat until meat is fully cooked and onion just starts to wilt (not totally translucent, yet; another 5 minutes).
4. Rice and bell pepper should be done by now. Carefully remove hot bell pepper from rice and rinse under cold water. It should be firm, but slightly soft. Set on prepared cookie sheet. Make sure to re-drain any more water that's collected inside the peppers once again before filling.
5. Turn back to rice.. add in 6 (or more, if you wish) heaping spoonfuls of salsa to the warm rice. Stir to combine well and heat thoroughly.
6. Also add in cooked beef/onion mixture to rice and salsa. Re-heat briefly over medium heat of a minute or two if you desire. Remove from burner and mix in cheese of choice.
7. Spoon rice/salsa/beef/onion mixture into waiting, drained crisp-tender bell pepper halves (or stuff all into the top of one whole bell pepper), distributing equally. Smother top again with more cheese.
8. Immediately serve hot with some chips and dip, or refried beans, or continue on...
9. Pop the stuffed bell pepper into the preheated oven. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until bell pepper is fully tender and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Common Ingredients

Here's a list of all the items I regularly keep on hand for making meals. It seems like alot of spices (they are expensive) but spices are essential for bold flavors. I bought mine one at a time, as I needed them. Grow your own herbs if your apartment gets enough sun! I was lucky to have fresh basil for most of the summer.
I really hope this gives new cooks some direction on their next shopping trip. I know a list like this would have helped me two years ago, when I first started out.
Experienced cooks: feel free to append or correct my list!

chicken breasts

cold cut lunch slices of choice

bell pepper

whatever else is in season

canned finely diced tomatoes

canned chopped tomatoes
8 oz. cans of Tomato sauce
canned corn
Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth
Swanson Beef Broth
beans (pinto and/or kidney)

sweet and condensed milk

Worcestershire sauce
soy sauce
red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)

cheese: cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan
sour cream


pasta spirals
bread slices
bread crumbs (or GF corn crumbs)
high heat frying oil-- like peanut or sesame
olive oil
long grain white rice
Aborio rice

white sugar
brown sugar

chocolate morsels
baking soda
baking powder
cream of tartar
flour(s) of choice + (Xanthan gum!!)

garlic powder
onion powder
sweet basil (dried leaves)
oregano (dried leaves)
chili powder
Cayenne red pepper (ground or flakes)
ground black pepper
ground cumin
thyme (leaves)
parsley flakes
ground ginger

*DelMonte canned veggies are GF. McCormick spices are GF.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hamburger Risotto

I've decided to stay true to my URL and cook up a few really easy dishes for the next week or so. Just in the past two days I've talked with over 5 fellow students who are trying to learn to cook. Their biggest complaint: having very little time and only a few random ingredients. I didn't think risotto with hamburger, chicken broth and orange bell pepper would be any good, but for a college kid, and hot, fresh meal is appreciated. (Plus, this really isn't too bad!)

Serves 2 (as a quick dinner or lunch)
35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 medium yellow onion
1 medium orange bell pepper (or maybe yellow)
1/3rd lb ground beef
1/2 c. Italian ABORIO Rice <---- yo undergrads...please buy some Aborio rice
1 15 oz. can of Swanson Natural Goodness chicken broth
dash of ground sage

1. Coarsely cut up yellow onion. Set onion aside near range. Wash and core the orange bell pepper, then cut into 1/2 inch squares. Don't mix onion and pepper, yet.
2. Rinse off beef and place in a large saucepan. Throw yellow onion into pan with beef and begin cooking over medium heat. Cook until meat is browned and onions just become translucent (around 5 minutes). Keep meat in larger chunks and DON'T drain the grease, unless you still have over 2 tbsp. in the pan.
3. Add Aborio rice to the meat/onion mixture. Stir, while the rice soaks up the excess fat, for 2 minutes. The rice should be mostly translucent with a white 'dot' in the center of each grain.
4. Add in the chopped orange bell pepper and a dash of sage. Also pour in about 1/4th of the chicken broth can. Continue stirring the rice mixture while the broth comes to a boil (raise the temp to medium-high if necessary).
5. When the rice soaks up most of the liquid, add in another 1/4th cup to the saucepan. Stir. Keep adding in small quantities of broth until you totally run out or the rice is creamy and tender. This whole process (add in broth, stir while rice soaks up liquid, repeat..) should take around 15 minutes.
6. Remove from range and season further with salt and pepper, if desired. Eat with a fresh green salad.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mini Corn Dogs

Okay, these are so far from gourmet, but for some reason I was craving them. I never even really liked corn dogs before diagnosis.. however, these were better than expected! Crispy and hot, with a touch of salty sweetness. I used regular old Oscar Mayer hot dogs (go ahead and shudder), but any kind of franks would work. I bet kids would love these as finger-food.

Makes 8 small corn dogs
30 minutes
-small saucepan, with deep sides
-long tongs for frying
-candy or deep fry thermometer

3/4 c. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix (or just plain cornmeal, but add a dash of baking powder~1 tsp.)
1/4 c. Kinnikinnick All Purpose Mix (or your favorite GF flour blend, just add a dash of xanthan gum ~1 tsp.)
1/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. GF beer-- I used Redbridge
generous shake of salt
enough peanut oil for frying (depth of 1/2 inch in your saucepan)... I probably used ~ 1/2 c.
4 pre-cooked hot dogs*, cut each in half to get 8 mini dogs (no sticks!)
serve with ketchup, relish or mustard
*Oscar Mayer hot dogs are GF, I use the "Jumbo" kind

1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the Cornbread mix, the Baking mix and the sugar until well combined (add in baking powder and xanthan gum, too, if just using cornbread and other GF flour). Set flour aside to dust the hot dogs before dipping.
2. Take a nice cold GF beer out of your fridge and add to corn mixture, one 1/4th cup at a time. Stir well between additions. The corn coating should be thick and sticky. Add in desired amount of salt &/or pepper.
3. Slice all hot dogs in half and pat dry. Set beside corn mixture and sprinkle them lightly with excess flour (should help the batter to stick.. I had mild problems getting the franks to fully coat, but I didn't really care in the end).
4. Pour peanut oil into small saucepan, about a half inch deep. These babies absorb alot of oil when cooking, even at higher temps. Place thermometer in the pan to continuously monitor the oil.
5. Begin heating oil to around 350 F. Recruit a friend to watch the oil temp (don't let it go over 400 F) while you dip 2-3 franks into the corn coating with tongs. Try to get a nice, thick cover of batter.
6. Carefully place 2-3 coated franks into the hot oil. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, then turn and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes on the other. Adjust the temp to keep it between 300 and 375 F.
7. My batter would spread out at first, on the 'non-cooking' side before I flipped them, be careful to not pull off the coating. Continue to turn franks and fry until the corn turns a lovely shade of golden-brown (around 8-10 minutes, total, for one batch).
8. Remove from oil and set on a deep stack of paper towels to cool slightly and drain off excess grease. Serve hot and with favorite condiments.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Strawberry-Chocolate Muffins

You can probably tell it's spring break at U of Illinois-- I've been cooking daily and now baking. These came out very cake-like, moist, and delicately flavored with strawberry. Omit or add in more dark chocolate chips, I wanted just a few sprinkles of chocolate in each muffin. You will taste more chocolate right out of the hot oven-- I prefer them chilled for a fresh strawberry delight.

Makes 9 large muffins
45 minutes
preheat to 375-400 F (my gas oven is funny.. the real temp was somewhere in that range)
-muffin tin with liners
-large bowl
-wire whisk or large fork
Quick and simple

12 oz. of fresh strawberries (3/4ths of a 1 lb package)
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. corn oil (or any veggie oil)
2/3+1/3 c. (1 cup total) GF flour blend-- I used Kinnikinnick All Purpose baking Mix, it's already leavened, but I wanted to be sure these rose
1/2 tsp. Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/6 c. dark chocolate -or- white chocolate chips-- I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips to be dairy-free

1. Wash strawberries and cut into small chunks (I made a cut perpendicular to the top, then sliced across the width). Drain thoroughly and place into a large mixing bowl.
2. Pour white sugar over strawberries and mix. Let the fruit sit for 10 minutes while the sugar extracts some strawberry juice. The strawberries should be halfway covered in a red sugary syrup when ready to continue.
3. Prepare muffin tin (grease or use liners) and preheat oven to around 400 F while waiting on fruit.
4. Take out whisk or fork and mash the tender strawberries a little.. not too much. Add in the egg and the oil. Whisk by hand until the mixture is pink and frothy (around 30 seconds).
5. Add in 2/3 rds cup GF flour blend, then sprinkle with baking powder and xanthan gum before stirring. Mix thoroughly, then add the remaining 1/3rd cup flour.
6. Stir by hand until batter is well combined-- the mixture will be incredibly thick and sticky.. that's okay. Add in a splash of vanilla extract and the chocolate chips.
7. Spoon (more like plop) the batter into prepared muffin tins. Filling the cups almost all the way to the top made 9 large muffins.. make 12 small ones by filling a little under 3 quarters full.
8. Slide muffin tin into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes**, until nice and golden brown on top and a knife inserted comes out clean (they are spongy and give a little). Let them totally cool before eating-- it REALLY brings out the strawberry taste!
**Make sure to check on these at the 10 minute mark.. I don't totally trust my oven temp and 400 F might be too high, but it worked this afternoon. Turn down to 375 F if getting too brown too fast.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chicken Sauce over Wild Rice

I bought a small bag of Lundberg's 'Wild Blend' last week and wanted something to serve over my new rice. Of course I turned to carrots and celery and chicken. I was aiming for a thick sauce/soup mixture to pour over the top and that's what I got. Not powerful enough to cover up the taste of the chewy wild rice, but still flavorful. Served below with Gluten-Free By The Bay: Lemon Roasted Cauliflower with Dill. Visit her tasty site for the zesty recipe.

Serves 3
50 minutes
-large saucepan with deep sides
-large pot with tight-filling lid

1 c. uncooked rice: wild, but white or brown would work, too
3 medium carrots, peeled
2 medium celery stalks, ends removed
1/2 of a medium green bell pepper, cored
1/2 of a medium white onion
2 tbsp. olive oil -or- butter
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes (or some fresh parsley)
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 large chicken breast, cut up into bite-sized pieces
1 14 oz can Swanson natural goodness chicken broth (1 cup)
3 heaping tsp. of GF flour (I used sweet white sorghum)
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese*; used to further thicken, instead of heavy cream
*I used Galaxy Nutritional foods mozzarella rice shreds to make this lactose-free
** Could serve alone as a thick soup... only add in 2 tsp. flour and a little less cheese. Stir in half of cooked rice at end.

1. Cook according to directions on package in large pot with a tight-fitting lid. If rice cooking time is over 30 minutes, start rice before sauteing veggies and chicken.
1. Cut up peeled carrots into 1/4th inch slices. Half if too big in diameter. Slice, then coarsely chop, up celery. Chop up cored green bell pepper and white onion into small-ish bits. Cut up and wash chicken breast. Set chicken aside from veggies, but by the range.
2. Place veggies (no chicken, yet) in large saucepan and pour in oil. Stir until coated, then turn on heat to medium-high. Add in parsley and thyme, to taste.
3. Saute veggies for 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Push veggies to one side in saucepan and add in raw chicken breast, already cut. Saute chicken and veggies for another 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink on the outside.
5. Add in entire can of chicken broth, stirring. Cook veggies and chicken in simmering broth for another 10 minutes, until chicken is tender and fully cooked.
6. With broth still boiling, add in 3 heaping tbsp. of GF flour over veggies and stir until no longer clumpy (I found very few lumps-- a perk of no gluten?!) Sauce should be quite a bit thicker, but still just 'soup' consistency.
6. Remove saucepan from heat and quickly stir in mozzarella cheese until well melted. Now mixture should fully thicken into sauce.
7. Hopefully, by now, your rice is done cooking and is ready to be topped with chicken and vegetables. Enjoy with bread or another cooked veggie.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

2 years ago, on this date..

I became a Celiac. The following year was the worse of my life, filled with nothing but nausea, frustration, pain and depression. It took 9 months to get an accurate diagnosis (I was lucky and persistent). However, it wasn't until I got my own apartment and began cooking from scratch that my health improved enough for me to start looking forward to tomorrow.

Today on my way to the lab I saw these first spring flowers poking through the dry leaves. They embody how I feel. Now I'm excited about life... I want to contribute and actually enjoy being here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Potato-Broccoli Skillet

Cayenne pepper gives these loaded hash browns a nice kick. I think a saucepan 'crisps' the potatoes better than the wok (not sure why). After I took this picture, I realized these would be great smothered in melted cheddar cheese. Leave out the meat and you have a hearty veggie side-dish.**

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan or skillet
Quick and simple

1/2 lb beef steak, thin cut
2 medium-small red potatoes
1 large head of broccoli
1 medium white onion
1+1 tbsp. peanut oil
2 tsp. garlic powder*
2 tsp. onion powder*
2 tsp. parsley flakes*
1/2 tsp. (or less) ground cayenne pepper*
fresh chives (optional), diced
cheddar cheese, for topping
*McCormick spices are GF
1. Cut red potatoes into smaller, 1/2 inch cubes. Let them sit in cold water for 5 minutes, then rise and set aside.
2. Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces. Also chop up onion. Set aside.
3. Place beef into saucepan and brown both sides over medium heat (3-5 minutes). Cut into bit sized pieces.
4. Turn up heat to medium-high and add in potatoes and 1 tbsp. peanut oil. Season with generous portions of garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes and chives. Also add in desired amount of cayenne pepper. Stir to coat. Cook potatoes and meat for another 10 minutes.
5. Add in broccoli, onion and another 1 tbsp of peanut oil. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until broccoli are crisp tender and potatoes are golden. Potatoes should be cooked through, but onion and broccoli should still have a bit of a bite.
6. Remove from heat and smother with freshly grated cheddar cheese while still hot. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then serve warm as a light lunch or dinner side dish.
**Sorry if this is reminiscent of my "Silver Dollar Stir-fry", I just love potatoes and thought this had a different taste with out sausage and with the pepper.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Artichoke Fettuccine

I was inspired by Just Not Dinner's "Pasta with Artichoke Hearts" and decided I needed to enjoy some artichoke myself. This came out pretty well, I substituted bell pepper and zucchini in for the mushrooms and drizzled the cooked veggies with red wine vinegar. If you have GF Italian salad dressing on hand, that would add even more flavor. I think this is robust enough to serve as a vegetarian main dish.

Serves 2 (as a main dish)
45 minutes
-medium saucepan or pot
-large saucepan or wok

1 inch diameter bundle of uncooked Tinkyada brown rice Fettuccine pasta noodles
water to cook pasta
dried basil (or fresh basil)
dried oregano (or fresh oregano)
1+2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow zucchini squash
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium-small white onion (or half of a big one)
1 can of artichoke hearts (or frozen artichoke hearts*), without marinade
10 (around 5 oz.) cherry tomatoes, halved
splash of favorite Italian salad dressing -or- red wine or balsamic vinegar
*I used the 9 oz. box of Birds Eye frozen artichoke hearts; they seem to be GF (I have yet to react)

1. Break fettuccine in half and place in medium saucepan. Cover noodles with water (~1.5 cups)and cook on high for 10 minutes, or until water comes to a rolling boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook till noodles are al dente (still slightly chewy in the middle, but pliable).
2. Remove noodles from heat and rise out three times with cold water. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to saucepan and stir till noodles are well coated. Sprinkle with dried basil and place noodles beside range. Let sit while preparing veggies.
3. Cut up washed yellow zucchini squash into 1/2 inch slices, then quarter each slice. Core and wash the green bell pepper and cut into 1/2 inch squares. Set aside.
4. Open &/or defrost artichoke hearts and rise thoroughly.
5. Coarsely cut the white onion. Set aside.
6. Wash cherry tomatoes and cut each one in half. Set aside.
7. Place yellow zucchini and bell pepper into large wok. Add in 2 tbsp. of olive oil and begin cooking veggies over medium-high heat. Season with more basil and oregano.
8. Stir-fry zucchini and bell pepper for 2-3 minutes, then add in artichoke hearts. Stir-fry veggies for another 5 minutes.
9. When artichoke hearts begin turning a darker shade of green, add in onions and stir-fry another 5 minutes. Add in a little more oil and herbs if desired.
10. Pour waiting, cooked fettuccine noodles into the wok and stir til they are limp and everything is well combined. Add in halved cherry tomatoes and heat through, around 2-3 minutes.
11. When tomatoes and pasta are tender, but not falling apart, remove from heat and sprinkle generously with Italian salad dressing (or red wine vinegar, something to go with the olive oil). Serve warm, maybe with Parmesan and a slice of GF garlic bread.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Recovery Rice

This is a lame recipe, but I am still desperately trying to get over a painful glutening episode (mystery cross-contamination, of course). Very fast and mild 'rice bowl'-- plus it's super easy, even for college-folk.

Serves 1
25 minutes
-medium pot
Quick and simple

1/2 c. uncooked long grain white rice
1 c. water
1 small zucchini
1/2 of a 15 oz can of pinto beans (or any other bean)
drop of oil (or butter?), if desired
salt and pepper to taste

1. Pour 1/2 c. uncooked rice into medium pot. Add in 1 c. water and begin boiling over high heat.
2. Wash zucchini and cut into 1/2 inch slices while water is heating. Cut eat slice into 4ths.
3. Just before rice reaches a rolling boil (~5 minutes), add in zucchini. Turn heat down to medium and continue to simmer all for 10 minutes.
4. Open can of pinto beans and drain beans thoroughly (2-3 rinses). When rice and zucchini are tender, with only a little water left, add in beans.
5. Stir an additional 5 minutes until water is totally evaporated/absorbed and beans are heated through.
6. Season and enjoy a mild, warm dish.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Silver Dollar Stir-fry

Every summer, before my sister and I hit high school, we would take a family trip to Silver Dollar City in Missouri. I remember chowing down on a bowl filled with potato-broccoli-sausage goulash from a food vendor who stir-fried the dish in a huge, 4' diameter iron skillet. This is my attempted at re-creating that hearty dish chopped full of fresh veggies and greasy sausage. Half of the time shown is spent cutting veggies.

Serves 2-3
40 minutes
-wok or a large large saucepan
Quick and simple

1-2 medium sized red potato (or a few smaller ones)
2 large carrots, peeled
1 medium head of broccoli
1 medium zucchini
1 medium white or yellow onion
1 ear of fresh summer sweet corn kernels, cut off the cob (optional, in season)
1/2 to 3/4th of a 16 oz package Hillshire Farms pre-cooked Polska Kielbasa sausage*
salt and ground black pepper to taste
*This is currently GF. I believe I might have been mildly cross-contaminated on this product maybe once in the 1+ year I've been using it.

1. Wash veggies and cut them as follows; keep them in separate piles. Wash and cut potato into 1/2th inch cubes. Peel carrots and slice into small-ish chunks. Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Cut zucchini into 1/2th inch thick slices, then chop slices up into 6th chunks. Cut onion up into coarse pieces. Remove husk from ear of corn, wash, and set aside.
2. Extract half of the long sausage link from wrapping (bag and keep remainder for another recipe). Cut sausage into 1/2 inch thick slices, then divide each slice again into 1/4ths. Rinse with water.
3. Place sausage pieces into wok and begin heating them over medium-high heat. Cook for around 3 minutes, or until sausage chunks begin to sizzle and slightly brown.
4. Add in potato cubes and carrot pieces. Stir-fry for an additional 10 minutes.
5. Add in broccoli and zucchini. Stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes.
6. Add in onion (and cut fresh corn). Stir-fry for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until onions are translucent and everything is heated through and flavored with sausage (the potatoes, broccoli and zucchini will be very tender). Serve hot, in deep bowls, maybe with some GF bread.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Corn Risotto

Risotto is NOT hard.. I don't know how that myth got started. The only 'hard' part is getting your hands on Italian Aborio rice. Oh, and you have to constantly stir the rice, but that is not difficult and creates such a creamy, delicate, flavorful rice dish that it's worth it. I should have waited to make this until corn and chives were in season, but the warmer weather here in Illinois made me anxious for a taste of July. Adapted from Williams-Sonoma's recipe files.

Serves 2-3
35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 medium white onion, chopped
large handful of fresh chives -OR- 5-8 green onions, using the green leaves only
1/2 -3/4 c. uncooked white Italian Aborio* or Carnaroli rice <---- MUST use Italian rice! Normal domestic long-grain white rice just won't cut it (sorry!).
2+ tbsp. olive oil
1 14 oz can Swanson chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 ears fresh summer sweet corn -OR- one 15 oz can whole kernel yellow corn*, halved
Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)
*I used Lundberg California Aborio rice. It is delicious and for sure GF. Del Monte canned Sweet golden corn is GF.

1. Wash off white onion. Chop into small-ish pieces, but not diced. Also wash off chives/green onions and chop into 1/2 inch long sections. Just use the dark green leaves off the green onions. Set chives/green onions aside. If you are lucky enough to have fresh sweet corn, peel and remove the husks and silk, but leave the long stem at the bottom.. it helps you cut off the kernels.
2. Place Italian rice and chopped white onion into large saucepan. Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil over rice and onion; stir to coat.
3. Set burner onto "medium" heat and begin to saute rice and onion. You will see the starchy, fat rice grains begin to soak up oil and become translucent on the edges (there will be a white 'dot' remaining in the middle of each grain). Saute in oil until the onions also become translucent and the rice grains slightly turn golden-- around 5 minutes.
4. Open up broth and pour about 1/4th of the can over the cooking rice (about 1/4th cup each time). Turn the heat up to medium-high. Continue stirring the rice while the broth boils and thickens.
5. Add in more broth before the rice soaks up all the liquid, always stirring and boiling. Continue to pour in more of your broth (bit by bit), and cook the rice. By the 15 minute mark, all the broth should be in the saucepan.
6. Now add in the chopped chives/green onions and sweet corn-- if using the canned corn, drain kernels then pour in a little over HALF of what's in the can. If using fresh corn, hold onto the stems, and cut off the kernels right into the saucepan.
7. Continue cooking the corn/rice/chives mixture for an additional 5 minutes. The corn should be fully heated through (tender) and chives wilted. However, the rice should still be creamy. If you wish, top with some grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy with meat of any kind.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Brussels Sprouts with Onion

I modified this recipe off of a Martha Stewart web page.. they had you using 2 or 3 pans. This cooks in one saucepan (which is preferable, for those like me who's apartment doesn't include a dishwasher). I really like Brussels Sprouts when they are not totally soggy. The red onions add the perfect hint of sweetness.

Serves 2
30 minutes
-large saucepan with deep sides
Quick and simple

20-30 fresh Brussels sprouts
1 medium RED onion (or half of a large onion)
2+ tbsp. olive oil
red wine vinegar* or balsamic vinegar, to taste
*Heinz red wine vinegar is GF

1. Cut tough end off of sprouts and peel off the very first leaf layer (2 leaves). Cut each washed sprout in half, perpendicular to the 'base' (not width-wise).
2. Slice the red onion into thick O's, then cut into quarters. You want the onion slices large. Set onions aside.
3. Place sprouts only in a large, deep saucepan and add water such that sprouts are bobbing around. Turn burner to 'high' and cook sprouts until they come to a roiling boil. Don't cook them longer than 1 minute past when they begin to boil. All in all, this should take less than 5 minutes.
4. Carefully pour (drain) most all water out of saucepan and into the sink. You could use a colander for this to catch the sprouts, but normally I risk it and just pour slowly.

5. Once all water has been removed, add in red onion slices and place saucepan back onto burner. Pour 2 tbsp olive oil over veggies, stirring to coat.
6. Continue cooking onion and sprouts over medium-high heat until the sprouts and onions become golden on the edges-- around 10-15 minutes. It is ready when both onions and sprouts are wonderfully crisp-tender.
7. Remove pan from heat and splash modestly with red wine vinegar (~1 tsp?). Also add in more olive oil or salt/pepper if desired. Serve warm with meat of choice.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Truth be told, I didn't use any marinade for the meat shown below, but I'll include the recipe I was going to use. Instead, I was frugal (lazy) and cut up Friday's remaining steak and dumped on a bunch of spices-- it was still incredibly good.

Serves 2
5+40 minutes
Overnight prep
-large saucepan or skillet
-large, heavy-duty freezer bag

Marinade (for beef or chicken):
1 lb steak, favorite cut, or 1-2 chicken breasts; uncooked
1/3 c. beef or chicken broth*
6 cloves garlic, washed, peeled and crushed (I think a Ziploc baggie and hammer works just fine)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce* (for beef only)
1 tsp. ground cumin*
1 tsp. chili powder*
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper*
juice of 1/2 lime
handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 medium white onion
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt-- all to taste, use what spices you have
Cheese of choice-- I used DF rice shreds (mozzarella!)
3-4 soft brown rice tortillas*
*Swanson canned plain chicken and beef broths are GF. Lea and Perrins worch. sauce is GF. McCormick spices are GF. Food for Life GF brown rice tortillas are big and tasty. Warm them up on the microwave so they'll be nice and pliable.

Night before:
1. Pour broth, crushed garlic, 1 tbsp. olive oil, Worch. sauce, cumin, chili, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and fresh cilantro into a heavy duty freezer bag. (I'd use said freezer bag to first carefully crush my garlic, then add the rest of marinade ingredients)
2. Shake, then add 1 lb of raw chicken or beef into baggie. Seal tight and let marinade overnight in the fridge.
Day of:
1. Wash bell peppers and onion. Core bell peppers and cut into 1/4th inch thin strips.. keep them nice and long. Likewise slice onion into 1/4th inch thick O's and cut slice in half (once). Set veggies aside.
2. Pull marinated meat out of baggie, place in large saucepan and turn range on to medium heat.
3. Cook meat until it reaches desired done-ness.. about 20 minutes or so. Don't let it burn.
4. Remove meat from saucepan (turn off burner) and carefully slice meat width-wise into 1/4th inch strips. Keep cut meat near range.
5. Reheat saucepan over medium heat and add in bell peppers and onion. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil into cooking veggies. Let them sizzle in the oil for 5 minutes.
6. When onion just begins to turn translucent, add sliced, cooked meat back into saucepan. Smother mixture in more chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin-- your onions should be colored!
7. Let spiced meat and veggies cook for another 5 minutes, adding in more olive oil if necessary.
8. When meat begins to 'crisp' and peppers are tender, spoon into waiting rice flour or corn tortillas. Top with cheese and eat hot.
**The quick way is using leftover, pre-cooked, unseasoned beef or chicken. Skip meat cooking step, instead cut meat as directed and throw in with partially-cooked veggies and more olive oil. Season generously with above spices.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Au Gratin Potatoes

Flavorful, creamy and tender-- without tons of milk or butter! I didn't keep them in the oven long enough to get nice and crispy on top. If you cut the potatoes thin enough, the baking time is not very long (little under an hour). I served these with steak.

Serves 4
1 hour 20 minutes
400 F
-8 x 12 pan
-medium small saucepan

3-4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
10-15 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp. butter* or margarine **EDIT if you are using real cheddar cheese DON'T add in the butter-- will make things very greasy! **
3 tbsp. GF flour, any will work.. I used white sorghum
2 tbsp. mayonnaise*
one 14 oz. can Swanson chicken broth* -or- GF vegetable broth
garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground black pepper, parsley?
1-2 c. cheese* of choice (probably sharp cheddar or Colby jack, but any other will work)
*I used Earth Balance buttery sticks and Galaxy Nutritional Foods cheddar rice 'cheese' to make this dairy free. All McCormick spices are GF. Hellman's mayo is GF, I used Kraft mayo with no problems. Original Swanson chicken broth is GF (both ready to serve and natural goodness; DO NOT use the 'flavored with __' broth, it contains gluten!).

1. Scrub russet potatoes and green onions; don't bother peeling the potatoes. Thinly cut up potatoes into 1/8th inch slices. Also slice up entire green onions, including green tops (discard bottommost tip).
2. Place the potato slices in a bowl of cold water and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Pour out water and place potato slices into 8 x 12 rectangular pan, sprinkling generously with green onions every layer or so. Repeat until all potatoes and onion are layered (to about a depth of 2 inches). Set aside near range. Preheat oven to 350 F.
4. Place butter in a medium saucepan over LOW heat. When butter is melted (not scalding) add in flour of choice and mix till smooth.
5. Add in mayo, stir until no longer 'clumpy'.
6. Pour broth into saucepan over butter-flour mixture. Stir. Turn up heat to medium. Add in any remaining spices (such as garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pepper, and parsley).
7. Continue stirring until sauce comes to a boil (around 5 minutes).
8. Remove from heat and quickly stir in cheese of choice until melted and creamy.
9. Pour/spoon sauce over waiting potatoes/onion layered pan. The sauce will be slightly thick and appear to sit on top.. that is okay.. DO NOT add in more water.. it will gain water when cooking.
10. Cover pan tightly with Aluminum foil and place in preheated oven (400 F).
11. Cook covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for another 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender, crispy on top and sauce is generous and bubbly. (Careful with hot steam when removing foil)
12. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired. Let sit 5 or so minutes for sauce to thicken and cool. Eat warm with steak or porkchops.