Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pesto Chicken

Originally, this recipe was baked and used a 'powdered' sauce. Once I went gluten-free, I was saddened to find the pre-packaged sauce contained wheat. So I revised the recipe, cut down the cooking time and made it into a quick, one pan dinner for two.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large, deep saucepan
Quick and simple

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin (1/4th inch thick)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin (1/4th inch thick)
1 medium white onion, sliced into O's, 1/4th inch thick
1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally, 1/4th inch thick
1 or 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 c. (approx.) water
1 + 1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 c. uncooked white long grain rice
1 tsp garlic powder*
1 tsp onion powder*
salt and pepper
2-3 tsp. dried sweet basil -OR- 1/2 c. packed fresh basil leaves, chopped.-OR- pre-made GF pesto sauce (My poor basil plant died a month ago, so I had to use dried basil today and it is not near as flavorful. If you have fresh basil, or pre-made pesto sauce, USE THAT!!)
*All McCormick spices are GF

1. Slice up washed (and cored) bell pepper, onion and zucchini. Do not chop further.. leave the slices large! Place aside.
2. Rise off chicken breasts, cut into smallish chunks and place in large, deep sided, saucepan. Cover chicken halfway with around 1 c. water, don't submerge entirely. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to water/chicken and heat saucepan over high heat.
3. Cook chicken until outside is no longer pink, around 5 minutes. Water should be at a rapid boil.
4. Add 1/2. c. uncooked rice (or more, if you wish) to boiling chicken-water. Stir and reduce heat to medium-high.
5. Once water has resumed boiling, add all vegetables (bell pepper, onion, zucchini) over the top of the chicken and rice. DO NOT STIR, yet. Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, onion powder. Season further with a bit of salt and pepper.
6. Let the veggies sit over the chicken-rice, while water boils, for 10 minutes.
7. Once veggies appear slightly steamed (tender), stir carefully with rice and chicken. Add a little more water at this point if your rice needs it. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.
8. Once rice is cooked and veggies are tender, add a generous amount of basil and another 1 tbsp. olive oil. Stir while over heat for another 3-5 minutes until dish is no longer runny.
9. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I used cheap ground beef, since I was making a ton of tacos for a gathering of hungry boys, and I think the extra fat made the burritos extra juicy. This is the halved recipe, but if you want to cook all 2 lbs of beef, freeze the rest of the meat and rice and reheat later for several quick dinners.

Serves 8-10, more with fillers
40 minutes
-large saucepan
-medium pot
-baster or paper towels to remove excess grease

Taco Meat:
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 red bell pepper, cored
1/2 green bell pepper, cored
1 medium white onion
1 small can of diced green chilies (optional, for a spicier taste)
2+ tsp. chili powder*
2+ tsp. garlic powder*
1+ tsp. dried cumin*
Rice w/beans:
1/2 c. uncooked white long grain rice (makes 1 c. cooked)
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
10 corn taco shells or 10 large, soft, brown rice tortillas (I used Food for Life, but you can make your own)
*McCormick spices are GF

CHEESE!! (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods rice shreds- they melt great; DF and GF, but not CF)
sour cream
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes


1. Cook 1/2 c. white rice according to directions in package; use a medium pot. Let it simmer gently, covered, for 15-20 minutes, while the meat is being prepared.

1. Wash and finely dice both bell peppers and onion. Set aside.
2. Place beef in large saucepan or skillet. Turn heat to medium and begin cooking meat.
3. If you are using fatty beef, like I did, be sure to pour off excess fat. You shouldn't need more than a tablespoon left.
4. Once meat is fully browned (barely cooked on the surface, 3-5 minutes), add in all diced veggies (plus chilies, if desired). Season generously with chili powder, garlic powder and cumin, to taste. Add a little salt if desired.
5. Cook another 8-10 minutes over medium heat or until meat is done and onions are translucent. Set meat aside.
Rice, continued:
6. Check on rice, it should also be cooked, fluffy and tender. Turn burner down to low once rice is done.
7. Open can of pinto beans, drain, and rise 3 or 4 times with cold water. Pour washed beans right into pot with rice. Stir/fold beans into rice until they are heated through.
8. Defrost/soften tortilla shells by placing them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Top with meat, rice and favorite cheese.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Teriyaki Green Beans

Crispy green beans and carrots cooked in a fragrant, spicy Teriyaki sauce. Could be served over white rice for a main dish or eaten without rice as a side dish. Make this vegetarian by replacing the ham with some diced red bell pepper.

Serves 2 or 3
45 minutes
-large saucepan or wok

Quick and simple

3-4 cold cut ham slices* (or 4 strips of thick-cut bacon); I used lunch meat cause I am in college
1 tbsp. peanut oil
1 medium yellow or white onion
2 large carrots, peeled, then diced fine or coarsely grated
1-2 c. fresh green beans, washed with ends removed
1 tsp. garlic powder*
pepper to taste
Teriyaki Sauce:**
3/4 c. to 1 c. water
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce*
1 tbsp. brown sugar
drop of honey
splash of soy sauce*
dash of dried ginger* (powdered)
*Oscar Mayer ham lunch meat is GF, McCormick spices are GF, Lea and Perrins Worcsh. sauce is GF, LaChoy soy sauce is GF

1. Cut ham lunch meat into 1/2 inch squares and place in large saucepan or wok. Add 1 tbsp of peanut oil to meat. (If using bacon, you don't need to add oil!) Let sit.
2. Coarsely chop up onion and finely dice carrots into pieces.
3. Wash and remove ends from beans. Don't break in half, leave them long.
4. Finally, heat oil up in wok over medium heat and saute ham till it's slightly crispy (about 4-5 minutes). Add in chopped onions and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle ham and onions with garlic powder. (For bacon, cook till crispy, crumble up into bits, and remove excess oil.)
5. Dump carrots and green beans into wok. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Time for the sauce: pour water into wok till it half-way covers veggies (around 1 c.). Move veggies to one side, clearing a small pool of water.
7. Add Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Season further with a touch of honey, soy sauce and dried ginger (to suit your tastes). I didn't use too much ginger.
8. Move veggies around in sauce till they are half-submerged and turn heat up to high.
9. Cook, sauce boiling, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered. Add a touch more water if necessary, especially if you want more sauce in the final product.
10. The dish is done when the green beans are no longer tough, but not soggy, either.
11. Serve over fluffy white rice.
** This sauce would probably work well as an overnight marinade; add some fresh, crushed garlic instead of powder.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sweet Marinara Sauce

Not my favorite pasta sauce recipe.. any sugar in red sauce is too sweet for my taste (even though this was thick and flavorful and very easy!) . I'll probably make it again later, though, if I ever find time between homework sets to make garlic bread. I bet this would be a good, rich dippin' sauce.

Serves 2
30 minutes
-small pot
Quick and simple

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes* (or fresh romas, if you don't mind paying an arm for some vegetables) Canned tomato sauce would also work.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic powder*
1 tbsp. onion powder*
1 tbsp. dried sweet basil*
1 tsp. dried oregano*
1-2 tsp. white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
*DelMonte tomatoes are GF; all McCormick spices are GF

1. Pour entire contents of canned tomatoes into a small pot. Add olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil and dried oregano.
2. Cook over medium-high heat for about 2o minutes, uncovered. Tomatoes should be boiling, so check back frequently and add in more water if mixture gets too dry.
3. Once the tomatoes have broken down into a thick sauce, remove from heat and add in sugar to fit your taste. Serve hot, over pasta or spread across bread.

Simple Lamb Chop

Nothing special.. just meat in a saucepan. Sure does taste good for such an easy hot lunch.

Serves 1
30 minutes
-small saucepan
Quick and simple

1 lamb chop
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash off meat. Place in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 20-30 minutes until chop is cooked through (it will still look slightly pink inside) and browned on the outside.
I ate this with pasta and marinara sauce, shown above, for a super-quick lunch.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Garlic-Zucchini Spaghetti

There are a few side dishes I eat as a simple one-person dinner.. this is definitely one of them! Besides the garlic-y olive oil, there are no other spices to cover up the wonderful flavor of zucchini. I think this would go well with steak or lamb.

Serves 2 (or 4 as a side dish)
30 minutes
-large saucepan or WOK <--- buy one of these, I love mine
-sharp knife or mandolin slicer (I also love my mandolin slicer)
Quick and simple

1 c. cooked Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti-- group the dry pasta together lengthwise; cook up amount you have encircled between your thumb and forefinger (about 1 inch diameter) Exact amount or type of pasta can vary.
1 + 2 tbsp. olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1 large yellow zucchini squash, thinly sliced
1 large white onion
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook up the pasta in a saucepan or pot according to directions on package. Taste regularly once cooking to make sure it's not getting over-cooked. You want it slightly al dente, but not too stiff.
2. Drain cooked pasta and wash it out three times with cold water (to get rid of rice goo). Return to small pot (NOT the wok) and stir in 1 tbsp. olive oil. Set pasta aside near range.
3. Wash, peel and mince up garlic. Place in the bottom of unheated wok or large saucepan
4. Thinly slice both green and yellow zucchini; the thinner the better.. I used a mandolin slicer that got those babies to around 1/8th inch thick.
5. Thinly slice onion into 1/4th inch thick O's. Cut flat O's in half once. Knife works for onion.
6. Set zucchini and onion aside next to range.
7. Pour about 2 tbsp. olive oil over the minced garlic and heat wok up over medium heat.
8. Saute garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until garlic just begins to turn golden.
9. Turn heat up to medium-high and add sliced zucchini, yellow squash and onion into wok.
10. Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and zucchini just starts to 'wilt'.
11. Add oiled, cooked spaghetti into wok with veggies. Stir-fry an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
12. Remove from stove once spaghetti is fully cooked and heated through.
13. Mix or top with Parmesan cheese and a little black pepper. Serve hot.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

French Fries

I've been on a mission for awhile now, trying to duplicate fast food french fries so I could enjoy them again. This recipe won't produce crispy, golden fries like the ones at restaurants, but these partially-fried potatoes still taste good enough to eat on a busy afternoon or as a side dish, especially topped with ketchup.

Serves 2
40 minutes
-small saucepan
-small bowl filled with cold water
-small bed of paper towels
-sharp knife, or mandolin slicer
Quick and simple

1 large russet potato, or 2-3 smaller golden potatoes (I personally liked the golden's taste better, but I know many people swear by russets)
3 tbsp. peanut oil for frying
salt and ketchup* for topping (or cheese, maybe chili?)
*Heinz ketchup is GF

1. Wash potatoes and thinly slice them lengthwise into 1/4th inch thick pieces. Don't bother to peel them beforehand. (Russets make longer strips than the goldens). Try to make strips as uniform as possible.
2. Place thin potato strips into a bowl filled with cold water. Let the strips sit for around 5 minutes while the excess starch bleeds out.
3. Drain water. When partially dry, place some into a small saucepan.. DON'T overcrowd the pan. I use a little pan so a small amount of oil will go a longer way; you'll have to fry them in batches.
4. Add in 3 tbsp. frying oil to potatoes, or enough oil to barely cover bottom of pan.
5. Turn heat onto medium and fry potatoes for 5-10 minutes, turning frequently to avoid one side burning. Frying time will greatly depend on thickness of potatoes and kind. Russets took alot longer to cook than the goldens, by about 2 mintues.
6. When parts of potato are slightly crisp, remove slices from oil and place on waiting paper towels. Since these are not deep fried, they won't be totally crispy (tender enough to need a fork to eat ).

7. Sprinkle generously with salt and eat with some ketchup or smother in melted cheese.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is truly versatile.. use any meat and your favorite vegetables.
The secret to restaurant-style fried rice is keeping 'old' white rice and using an asian oil, such as sesame seed or peanut. Like for any stir-fry, cut up all vegetables before the wok is even hot.
*EDIT*: I improved my fried rice recipe and posted it. Use Thai Fried Rice if you have Fish sauce, high-heat oil, and a well-seasoned (non-stick) wok.

Serves 2
45 minutes
-large saucepan or wok

1.5 c. pre-cooked (around 3/4 c. uncooked), chilled long-grain white rice (I used basmati)
Meat of choice (around 1/2 lb.): steak, chicken breast, pork chop, shrimp, tofu...
3 tbsp. peanut or sesame oil

Mirage of veggies (choose 3 to 6 of them), in order of cooking time:
water chestnuts? (never actually used these)
3 carrots, julienned
1 zucchini or yellow zucchini, sliced then chopped into quarters
1 head of broccoli
1/2 c. sno peas, ends removed
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped, or several green onions
1/2 c. bean sprouts
1/4 c. frozen peas (NOT canned, I made that mistake before)
1/4 c. shredded cabbage or lettuce

1 tsp. garlic powder*
ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 tbsp. soy sauce*
*laChoy soy sauce is GF; all McCormick spices are GF

Night before:
1. Cook up 1/2 c. uncooked white rice according to directions on package, EXCEPT add a little less water than originally needed. Also cut the cooking time short by around 5 minutes. This keeps the rice undercooked and not mushy. Stir cooked rice, then place in refrigerator to chill overnight.
Day of:
1. Wash and cut up all veggies into bite-sizes pieces, but not too small. Set aside near range.
2. Place meat into wok, add 1 tbsp oil and spread around sides. Cook meat fully over medium heat; shouldn't take longer than 8 minutes. Cut up into bite-sized pieces.
3. Place longest cooking vegetables into wok (chestnuts, carrots, zucchini) and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add in next couple of veggies (broccoli, sno peas, onion), along with 1 tbsp. more oil. Stir fry another 2-3 minutes.
5. Add in remaining veggies (sprouts, frozen peas, cabbage) and stir-fry another 2-3 minutes. Season veggies with garlic powder and ground pepper.
6. Pull 'old' rice out of fridge and pour remaining 1 tbsp. oil into rice. Stir till well coated.
7. Pour oiled rice into hot veggie/meat filled wok. Stir well.
8. Stir-fry entire mixture for 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
9. Push the rice mixture over to the side to make room for the egg. Break egg, and place onto cleared section of wok. Scramble egg by stirring in wok, until cooked.. it won't take longer than 1 minute.
10. Stir scrambled egg in with rest of rice and add soy sauce to mixture. Stir well and remove from heat. Serve hot. Good as a side dish to chicken or as a main dish.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Red Spaghetti Sauce

My Italian mother's tomato spaghetti sauce... easily the best red sauce I've ever had. Meaty. Thick. Savory, not sweet. Easy to make and freezes well.

Serves 2-3 -- easily doubled or tripled
1 hour and 15 minutes
-medium pot or saucepan with lid

1/4 lb. ground beef**
14.5 oz. can tomato sauce*
1 medium white onion, diced (not too small)
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried sweet basil*
1/2 tbsp dried oregano*

salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese, for topping over pasta
*Hunt's isn't 'listed' as GF, but I've never reacted to it and I'm very sensitive; McCormick spices are GF

**VEGETARIAN: Replace beef with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Cut up onion and mince garlic cloves.
2. Wash ground beef and place in pot or medium saucepan. **
3. Brown meat over medium-heat (cook it till outside surface is no longer pink, but not fully cooked).
4. Add in can of tomato sauce, onions and garlic. Also stir in basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.
5. COVER, reduce heat to medium-low (or low) and simmer gently for 45 to 60 minutes. Stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.
6. Serve over cooked GF pasta, with parmesan, or use in lasagna or eggplant parmesan-- Tastes better the second day!! I sometimes double the recipe, freeze in small baggies and heat up later for a quick lunch.
**If making a meat-less sauce (like for eggplant parmesan), skip this cooking step and instead add 1/2 tbsp olive oil directly into the tomato sauce.

Friday, February 16, 2007

St. Luke's Apple Pie; Revised

The original recipe produced a pie.. this is more of an apple crisp, but still turned out delicious. (Plus, who really needs the bottom pie crust, anyway?) Don't let the 'overnight prep' or detailed instructions fool you, this is actually an easy GF dessert to make.

Serves 4
1 hour + 1 hour
450 F
Overnight prep
-8 x 8 " pan

Fruit filling
5-6 medium ripe granny smith apples
1/2 c. white sugar
plenty of cinnamon (around 2 tsp.)*
dash of nutmeg*
GF Crumble crust
3/4 c. white rice flour (sorghum would probably work, too)
1/2. tsp xanthan gum
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. butter, frozen*
*McCormick spices are GF; I used Earth Balance buttery sticks to make this DF

1. Place butter in the freezer if not frozen already.
Fruit filling
2. Wash and peel all 5 apples. Use a peeler as you would for a carrot... it works WAY better than using a paring knife. Lie the apple on its side and cut into 1/4th inch slices. Use a sharp knife for this, since you will be cutting right through the seeds.
3. Once you have peel-less, round apple slices, cut out the core by making 4 cuts in each flat slice: two on either side of the core, then turn the apple 90 degrees, and make another two cuts (in a checkerboard pattern) around the core. You are now left with 9 apple 'chunks'.. discard the middlemost square since it contains seeds. Repeat until you have each slice divided.
4. Place all chunks into the 8 x 8 baking pan. Pour 1/2 c. sugar over apples and mix. Also sprinkle generously with cinnamon (and a pinch of nutmeg) till it suits your taste.
Crumble Topping
5. In a medium-sized bowl, combine rice flour and xanthan gum. Stir in sugar until all is well combined.
6. Retrieve butter from freezer.. it should be hard. Carefully drop butter into flour mixture by cutting off small 'flakes' at a time.** Stir butter flakes into flour every tbsp or so in order to not clump all pieces together (this is what makes the crumble crust crumbly). Flour should coat butter and crust should appear like coarse cornmeal when correctly prepared.
7. Spoon topping over apples in pan.. don't mix. Cover pan with Aluminum foil and place in freezer overnight, or until FULLY frozen.
**Use a pastry cutter or food processor if you have one!!
To cook:
8. Preheat oven to 450 F. Remove apple pie from freezer, remove foil and place in hot oven.
9. Cook 15- 20 minutes at high temp, then, decrease oven temperature to 350 F and bake ANOTHER 30 - 45 minutes at lower temp (it cooks a total of 50-6o minutes).
10. Serve warm, or cold. Try it topped with vanilla ice cream or cinnamon whipping cream.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Steamed Broccoli

Crisp and fresh... wonderful as an easy side dish to meat. I cook mine over a pot inside a strainer.

Serves 2
15 minutes
-large pot with lid
-strainer or vegetable steamer
Quick and simple

1 medium head of broccoli
water to fill pot
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut and wash broccoli. They should be in large, but bite sized, pieces.
2. Fill pot halfway with water and place strainer inside, so it is resting on the rim of the pot.
3. Place broccoli inside strainer and cover with the lid; there will be a gap.
4. Heat on 'high'. Let the water reach and stay at a rolling boil, steaming the broccoli for 5-10 minutes. Test veggies for done-ness around 6 minutes, they should be crisp, but not tough or mushy. Be careful not to burn yourself on the escaping steam.
5. Remove from strainer, sprinkle with desired salt and pepper and serve hot.

Tropical Pork Chops

The thick-cut pork meat came out juicy and tender. This dish was NOT too mustard-y, with a subtle cayenne pepper kick that complimented the fresh pineapple's sweetness. I served this over white rice and with steamed broccoli.

Serves 2
15 minutes+ 25 minutes
-large saucepan, with lid
-small pot
Served over steamed white rice.

1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. ketchup*
1 tbsp. prepared mustard*
1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar*
1 tsp. soy sauce (a dash)*
2 shakes garlic powder*
2 shakes onion powder*
2 shakes cayenne pepper*
Meat and Veggies
1 coarsely cut yellow onion
5 cloves minced garlic
2 extra thick-cut boneless pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
drop of cooking oil (I use peanut)
1/6 c. water
1/4 c. fresh pineapple chunks (I reserve a few rings and freeze them when cutting up a fresh pineapple) Could use a small can of pineapple tidbits, drained.
* Heinz ketchup is GF, French's mustard is GF, most cider vinegars are GF, McCormick spices are GF

1. In small pot, combine the sauce ingredients. Will look more like a paste than a sauce.
2. Heat over medium-low heat until the brown sugar dissolves.. this does not take too long. Be careful you don't scorch the sugar.
3. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Cut onion up into large, thick, chunks, as you would for shish-kabobs. Mince garlic. Wash and set aside until ready to cook.
5. Place thick-cut pork chops in large saucepan with high sides. Don't remove too much fat and sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.
6. Begin slowly cooking chops over medium heat, turning until both sides are slightly pale brown (middle will still be pink). This should take around 5 minutes.
7. Add in cut onion slices and minced garlic along with a couple drops of oil to help them fry. Cook meat and veggies until onion is translucent and garlic and meat begins to brown; around 10 minutes.
8. Once partially fried, add in enough water to barely cover bottom of pan (may be less or more than 1/6th cup). Stir in prepared sauce paste until fully 'mixed' in water. The sauce will be slightly thick, but not too much.**
9. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and let it slowly simmer until meat is no longer pink inside; around 25 minutes. Turn occasionally to cover with sauce.
10. Once meat is fully cooked, add in pineapple chunks and stir until heated through; don't let fruit break down,(no more than 2 minutes). Remove from heat and serve.
**If serving over white rice, begin cooking it in a separate pot after water and sauce is added to meat. This tasted wonderful with steamed broccoli.. I cooked it over the top of the rice to save time and dishes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ham Mac and Cheese

A twist to simple macaroni and cheese. I make this when I only have a little time to prepare lunch. Double or triple for a simple dinner.

Serves 1
20 minutes
-small pot
Quick and simple

1/2 small yellow or white onion
2-3 lunch meat ham slices*, 'cubed' -OR- 1-2 hotdogs*, sliced
drop of oil (if using the sliced sandwich meat)
1/4 c. Tinkyada brown rice macaroni, uncooked
1 c. water (give or take)
1/4 c. cheddar cheese*
*Oscar Meyer lunch meat and hotdogs are GF; I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods Rice Shreds DF cheddar 'cheese'

1. Cut up lunch meat (or hotdogs) and coarsely cut up onion.
2. Place meat and onion into small pot. If using lunch ham slices, add a drop of oil into the pot (hotdogs are greasy enough). Heat over medium for about 5 minutes, or until meat and onions are slightly browned/toasted.
3. Remove meat and onions and set aside, like on a small piece of Al foil or in a plastic baggie (NO paper plates.. they are not GF).
4. Pour pasta into same small pot, add enough water to cover macaroni. Heat on high until pasta comes to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes.
5. When pasta is tender, carefully pour out hot, murky water, and rinse pasta out three times with cold water... this helps get rid of that weird 'rice goo'.
6. Place back on the range and turn heat on to medium. Stir in cooked onions and ham until they are heated through.
7. Remove from stove when hot and stir in cheese till fully melted.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stovetop Popcorn

Nothing beats this quick, healthy and cheap snack. Totally fresh-- no nasty chemicals!

Serves 2
5 minutes
-large pot with lid
-small sheet of aluminum foil
Quick and simple

1 to 2 tbsp. corn oil
1/8 to 1/4 c. yellow or white popcorn (white popcorn pops smaller and has a tender texture; yellow is more common)
melted butter (and/or Parmesan cheese)

1. Locate pot lid and cover 'bottom' (inside) with a small sheet of Al foil. I've found this greatly simplifies clean-up, since the oil splatters all over the foil and not onto the actual lid.
2. Check that pot is free of water, then add oil and heat up over medium-high heat, uncovered. It shouldn't take too long for the oil to be hot enough.. maybe about 1 minute. Make sure oil does not start to smoke.
3. Toss in three kernels (COUNT them), cover with lid+foil and wait for them to pop. When all three are popped, pour in the remaining popcorn. You will find this actually makes alot of popcorn-- make sure this amount does not totally cover the bottom of your pot, or else you will have it overflowing!
4. Cover quickly, but not forcefully (you want some steam to escape), and gently shuffle the pot back and forth while still over the med-high heat. When pops are more than 4 seconds apart, turn off heat and remove pot from burner.
5. Wait for all pops to stop, then remove lid, discard foil, and sprinkle fresh popcorn with salt. Drizzle with melted butter, or season with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Chunky Salsa

Unlike many salsa recipes, this one doesn't involve a food processor. Instead, ingredients are shortly saute'd, allowing the flavors to blend. Adjust spicy-ness to suit your own taste.

Makes about 2 cups.
35 minutes
-medium pot

1 medium-sized fresh jalapeno pepper
1 small bundle of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar*
juice of ½ fresh lime
1 tsp garlic powder*
dash of salt
½ finely diced yellow onion
½ finely diced green bell pepper
½ finely diced red bell pepper
1 14.5 oz can petite/finely diced tomatoes, undrained*

*Heinz red wine vinegar is GF, McCormik spices are GF, DelMonte canned veggies are GF

1. Finely dice up fresh jalapeno and chop cilantro and place in medium-sized pot. Add olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and sprinkle with garlic powder and a bit of salt.
2. Dice up onion, green and red bell peppers, but do not add them, yet.
3. Cook jalapeno, cilantro and juices over medium-high heat until oil sizzles and cilantro becomes limp (about 2 minutes).
4. Add onion and bell peppers. Cook for another 1 minute—do NOT cook too long, want onion and peppers to still be crisp.
5. Add in whole can of diced tomatoes, liquid and all. Stir to mix thoroughly, then turn off heat.
6. Place in a plastic or glass container and refrigerate. Serve with corn, tortilla or rice chips.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Eggplant au Gratin

I was craving eggplant, but didn't want something heavy with tomatoes (or as time-consuming as Eggplant Parmesan). This is the result: a light and delicate 'casserole' filled with veggies and cheese.

Serves 2
30 minutes + 45 minutes

Preheat oven: 350 F
-4 x 9 " pan
-large saucepan or skillet
-peeler and flipper

1 large or 2 small eggplants, peeled
1 large zucchini
3 medium roma tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
3 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese*
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese*
1/4 c. fresh sweet basil, or 2 tsp. dried basil*
* I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods DF Rice Shreds 'mozzarella' and Galaxy Nutritional Foods soy Vegan Parmesan; McCormick spices are GF

1. Peel and slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4th-inch-thick, large flat 'slabs'.
2. Cut off ends of zucchini and likewise slice into long thin strips-- the thinner the better.
3. Cut roma tomatoes lengthwise into 1/4th inch thick ovals. You need fresh tomatoes for this.
4. Remove skin and mince garlic cloves. Also cut up fresh basil, if you have it.
5. Pour 1 tsp. of olive oil onto large saucepan. The zucchini and eggplant are pre-cooked in oil before being placed in the oven. Saute the slices, PLUS a sprinkle of basil and garlic, in the olive oil over medium heat until they are tender, fused with garlic and slightly toasted. Since the final dish must be layered, I found it was easiest to saute the layers 'together'-- do two eggplant slices with two zucchini slices at a time.

6. Place the two eggplant slices on the bottom of the 4 x 9 " pan. Lay a few tomato slices over the eggplant, then top it off with two or three zucchini slices. Sprinkle a handful of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the zucchini.
7. Cook up another layer of eggplant, zucchini, basil and garlic in the skillet. Add more oil as needed. When tender, layer in pan as before: eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and cheeses.
8. When pan is complete, generously sprinkle with remaining cheeses**, cover with Aluminum foil and bake in the 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes.
9. After 30 minutes, increase the heat to 400 F, remove foil, and let the cheese brown on top, cooking for another 15 minutes.
10. Serve hot, but after the excess moisture has been re-absorbed by the veggies.
**If using Rice shreds mozzarella, as I did, DO NOT top it off with cheese.. it will get super hard and tough. Instead, bake as directed, but add cheese on hot out of the oven and let it melt.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Beef Stew

Hearty and full of veggies; this is my mother's recipe modified to be GF. Makes alot, so invite a friend who likes beef.

Serves 8
2.5 hours
-large pot or dutch oven, with lid

1 to 2 lbs beef stew meat
1/4 to 1/2 c. flour; any kind will work.. sorghum, rice, potato...enough to coat meat
2 tbsp olive oil
15 oz can tomato sauce*
4 c. water; or more, later
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce*
5 small red potatoes; coarsely cut into 1 inch cubes
2 carrots, cut into thick round slices
2 celery stalks, cut into thick slices
1 c. fresh corn (or one 15 oz can sweet yellow corn, if out of season)*
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium turnip (use the turnip; it tastes good in this.. I promise)
2 large leeks; wash and cut into thick round slices-- only use the white bottom portion of the stalk, not the green part. Separate the O's once cut.
salt and pepper to taste
*Lea & Perrins original worcester. sauce is GF; all DelMonte canned veggies are GF

1. Wash stew meat and place into large, deep pot. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir in pot to coat. Also add some salt and pepper.
2. Brown meat in olive oil over medium heat until meat just starts to sizzle.
3. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 4 cups water. Increase heat to 'high' and bring to a boil.
4. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 2 hours. DO NOT cook longer than 2 hours... your meat will turn to mush.
5. While meat is simmering, coarsely cup up all veggies.. there will be quite a bit.
6. Add in all (potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, sweet potato, turnip, leeks) to pot at 2 hour mark. Slowly add in more water if you desire a soup-like stew. I like mine thick and rarely add more liquid.
7. Cover and let veggies simmer for 30-45 minutes. Again, do NOT overcook! When the potatoes are tender, stew is ready to eat.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

No-Bake Homemade Sandwich Cookies

These taste just like miniature chocolate covered candy bars and are ridiculously easy. Also can be made dairy free! Picture shows pb filling.

Serves 3
-parchment paper
-small pot
Quick and simple

40 Envirokidz vanilla animal cookies .. the flat square ones.
1/4 c. (or more) chocolate chips*
1 tsp. shortening (NOT butter)
*I used Enjoy Life dairy free chips
Peanut butter or any jam/fruit preserve of choice; perhaps strawberry or cherry or orange marmalade-- I've also used fresh fruit in between, too
I bet caramel or marshmallow would also be good!

1. Place animal cookies out on parchment paper over a large plate or small cookie sheet.
2. Spread your favorite filling on 20 of the cookies. Use remaining cookies as the top half of the sandwich. Be sure to press down well. I found the fruit cookies didn't stay together as well as the pb ones.
3. Pour chocolate chips out into small saucepan or pot. Begin melting chips over low heat, stirring in the shortening until smooth and silky. This does not take too long.
4. Remove from heat and place cookies carefully into chocolate until well coated. If the fruit ones fall apart, just drizzle chocolate over them (and down the sides) instead of dipping.
5. Once fully coated with chocolate, let them firm up in the fridge or freezer.

Green Beans and Bacon

No need for oil here... crisp green beans and tender potatoes flavored with bacon. Good for a quick meal or side dish to steak or turkey.

Serves 2 or 4 (as a side dish)
30 min.
-large saucepan or wok
-baster or paper towels to remove excess oil + old tin can for easy disposal
Quick and simple

1 medium white onion
1 1/2 c. fresh green beans, washed with ends removed
3 medium-small red potatoes-- these are way more tender than russets!
8-10 slices of bacon*
*Oscar Mayer bacon is GF

1. Chop onion up into coarse bits.. not too small.
2. Wash and remove ends from FRESH green beans. Please don't use canned.
3. Cut potatoes up into 3/4 inch cubes (as you would for stew).. again, not too small. Be lazy.
4. Wash off bacon and place into a large saucepan, or if you have one, a wok.
5. Cook bacon over medium heat until bacon just begins to turn crispy; about 4-5 minutes. Using a baster, remove excess oil into a tin can until only about 1 tbsp. remains. If you don't have a baster, carefully tilt your pan and place a few wadded up paper towels in to absorb up the grease.
6. Turn up heat to medium-high and add coarsely chopped onions, red potatoes and green beans into the wok. Be careful of hot oil splattering if veggies are damp.
7. Stir-fry veggies until green beans are crisp-tender and potatoes are soft; 10 minutes. Leave in longer, around 15 minutes, for veggies to slightly fry and turn a wonderful golden brown.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

Crunchy and onion-y, but could use more flavor. I will keep experimenting.

Serves 4
2 hours + 30 min.
- large saucepan
- tongs or slotted spoon to flip
-deep fry/candy thermometer

3/4 c. sweet white sorghum flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar? (this was suggested to me in hopes of adding more flavor)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 bottle of GF beer*
1 large sweet yellow onion
enough peanut oil for frying
*I used Redbridge beer and Bob's Red Mill sorghum flour. McCormick spices are GF, DF.

1. In a small bowl, mix together sorghum flour, xanthan gum, paprika, black pepper, sugar, salt and garlic powder till well blended.
2. Slowly pour in GF beer, stirring constantly, until batter resembles a thick, sticky pancake mix. You might have to add more flour or beer until it is the right consistency. It will not drip from stirring spoon when you have it right.
3. Cover and place batter into the fridge for 2 hours. This will make it firm up even more.
4. Cut up washed yellow onion into 1/2 inch rings. Let or pat dry.
5. When batter is chilled and onions cut, pour peanut oil into large saucepan until it reaches a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat oil until it reaches 350 F... monitor oil with a deep fry/candy thermometer! Keep oil temp between 375 F and 300 F while you fry.
6. Dredge onion rings one by one into chilled batter. Batter should adhere well to sides of onion, forming a thick coating. If not, you could try dusting onions with a thin layer of plain sorghum flour before dipping, but I didn't have a problem.
7. Fry onion rings for 5-10 minutes, or until deep golden brown, depending on how crispy you like your rings.
8. Let onions cool on a bed of paper towels, then sprinkle with more salt and serve plain or with a dip.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Buffalo Chicken Wings

This picture doesn't show it (the sauce looks odd), but this chicken came out super crispy, tender on the inside and full of spicy flavor without being super greasy.

Serves 6
Overnight prep + 2 hours
-deep saucepan
-candy/deep fry thermometer
-long metal tongs for turning

20 raw chicken wings, uncut
enough peanut oil for frying
Breading (covers 40 'cut' wings):
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Sauce (covers 20 'cut' wings):
1/2 c. hot sauce
5 tbsp. butter
* Frank's original hot sauce is GF, DF
*McCormick spices are GF, DF

Day before:
1. In a large, heavy duty ziplock baggie, combine all "Breading" ingredients. Mix well.
2. Wash and cut chicken wings.. use a sharp knife. Cut off wing tip and discard. Extend the wingette (middle section) until the joint 'pops'. Cut down through the joint and skin. (20 raw wings will yield 40 cooked/cut 'wings')
3. Place separated wingettes and drumettes into breading bag. Shake until all are well coated.
4. Let breaded chicken wings sit overnight in the fridge... this makes them crispy when fried.
Day of:
1. In a small pot or saucepan over medium-low heat, mix hot sauce and butter until well blended. Remove from heat and set aside. Also set up a place beside range with fresh paper towels..
2. Fill large, deep saucepan full of peanut oil to a depth of 1/2 inch (should cover a little over half of the wing). Place candy/deep fry thermometer inside pan. Heat oil until thermometer reaches 350 F.
3. Once at correct temp, place 6 or so wings into hot oil.. don't crowd the pan. Your oil temp will fall to around 300 F, so compensate by adding in more heat!
4. Cook chicken wings for 12-15 minutes, turning frequently. Monitor oil temperature in pan while cooking, don't let it fall below 300 F (chicken will soak up too much oil) or rise above 375 F (oil will smoke).
5. When wings begin to turn a nice amber-brown color, remove from heat and place on prepared paper towels.
6. Put cooled wings in serving bowl and drizzle prepared hot/butter sauce over crispy wings. Microwave on high for 1 minute and serve.