Tuesday, April 23, 2013

G-Free Chicken, Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Once in a while I find myself craving rice. It doesn't happen often, but when it does my go to meal is some form of risotto. Now don't get me wrong, I could devour a huge bowl of coconut white rice any day, but I haven't attempted to make that at home just yet. As it relates to risotto, there is just something about the taste of the rice cooked in wine and broth that I absolutely love.

Last night was one of those nights. I had my risotto rice on hand, some chicken in the freezer and a few veggies in the fridge - practically fate! With no real recipe in mind, I whipped up this savory dish and was satisfied in no time!

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups gluten free chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine, I use sauvignon blanc
1 cup uncooked regular long grain rice 
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces 
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

1) Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until light brown.
2) Stir in broth and wine; heat to boiling. Stir in rice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer without stirring 10 minutes.
3) Stir in asparagus, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Cover and simmer without stirring 8 to 10 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is no longer pink in center; remove from heat. Stir in cheese.

Voila! A tasty meal with minimal effort. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What I've Been Using...

Over the last few months I've been doing my best to get comfortable with my gluten free lifestyle. It sure hasn't been easy but I've been fortunate enough to come across several gluten free products to make the transition a little less challenging.

I'll let you all in on a little secret... I haven't yet mastered the art of baking with the g-free all purpose flour. I've done some research and read that typically, a little bit of xanthan gum needs to be added to get the same consistency as regular flour. Rather than spending hours in my hot kitchen getting this science down, I stick with pre-made baked goods, like the Emmy's Lemon Ginger Macaroons below. They were so delicious!

Check out some of the goods here! And in case you're wondering, Red Bridge beer is my favorite of all of these products. ;)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gluten Free Broccoli Parmesan Rositto

People tend to complain that risotto is so hard to make and that's it's so easy to mess up. I've never understood that. Maybe when I first made it  I had a great recipe to work off of but I've made other variations since and still haven't had any issues.

This recipe was a quickie that I tossed together for a friend earlier this week. To be honest, I was too lazy to defrost any chicken or ground turkey so it became broccoli parm risotto but the addition of meat would have been great as well. If you decide to do that, cook the meat and onions first, take them out of the pan then add them in just before adding butter below. Here is the full recipe:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1  1/2 cups ariboio rice
3 cups gluten free chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup Parmesan
2 cups frozen broccoli, defrosted

1) Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until softened then add chicken broth. Bring broth to a boil then stir in rice. Stir continuously for the first 3 minutes. Put a lid on the pan and cook for about 15-20 minutes until broth has almost dissolved, stirring every 4-5 minutes.
2) Once broth is almost dissolved the rice will be fluffy and look a little soupy, that's ok. Add the butter, Parmesan and broccoli. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gluten Free Greek Chicken Quinoa

They say that cooking at home will help to ensure that gluten isn't in your food because you have full control over what you put in your meal. Well that doesn't help very much when your fail to read labels. Yes, people, I accidentally glutened myself. And when I started to get a headache while eating I got concerned.

I had made dinner for a few friends in honor of the Mad Men premier Sunday night. My menu was planned solely on what foods I knew were at my boyfriends apartment and what I had left in my fridge to bring over. It worked out perfectly, until of course I came home after dinner and read that WHEAT GLUTEN was an ingredient in the chicken broth. Ugh!! I was finally feeling good for the first time in months and then I poisoned myself. Luckily, it was nothing an excessive amount of water and sleep couldn't fix.

Take this as my Celiac PSA: always check labels!!

Now on to the recipe. It was realllllly good, regardless of my ridiculous error.

3 large chicken breasts, halved
1 1/2 uncooked quinoa
3 cups gluten free chicken stock
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup olives, halved
1/2 cup feta
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Place them on a rimmed cookie sheet and pop them in the oven to cook for about 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through.
2) Meanwhile, heat oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Sauté peppers and onion until softened, about 8 minutes. Next, add garlic and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
3) In the same pan, add quinoa and chicken broth and cook over high heat until boiling then bring to a summer and until almost all water has absorbed.
4) After the chicken and quinoa have finished cooking, combine together with onions and pepper. Stir in feta, olives and salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Kale Salad wtih Garlic and Onion Dressing

The infamous salad I talked about in my last post is one that I can't even take credit for but I'll happily make it any day! I had dinner with Hillery a few weeks ago and she whipped this bad boy up in no time.

I have to say, salad can be one of the most mundane dishes to make so if your looking to making something super delicious and quick for your next meal or party you've got to try this!

For the salad:
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped or torn
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

For the Dressing:
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 onion, diced very small
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1) Toss the kale, parmesan and red pepper together then set aside.
2) Heat oil over medium heat then add garlic slices. Cook for about five minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Once browned, remove the garlic from the oil. Set on a paper towel to absorb oil. Next, add onion to oil and cook until softened. Finally, add balsamic to heated oil and onion. The dressing is complete
3) Crumble cooked garlic with your hands and add to the salad. This adds an amazing garlic crunch to each bite.
4) Top salad with dressing. Pour enough to just cover. Also, don't feel like you need to add all of the onion to the salad. A little goes a long way.

I am hooked on this salad and to my surprise so are my boyfriend and his friends! You know a salad is good when guys dig it too.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gluten Free Pesto Chicken Parmesan

When I think of comfort food I always gravitate toward Italian dishes. Since my eating habits have changed I haven't really indulged in some of my old favorites like manicotti, rigatoni bolognese or chicken Parmesan. It had a lazy Sunday a few weeks ago and decided to put an end to this nonsense. I found gluten free Italian breadcrumbs and set out to make g-free chicken parm!

I did a little switch up with this recipe and instead of topping with red sauce and mozzarella, I added a bit of pesto, Parmesan and then red sauce. It was absolutely delish! I served it with my new favorite salad. Watch for the post to come soon.

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts (I used 6 breast tenders from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pesto sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups tomato sauce

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Set aside.
2) Coat chicken in oil then dip in the breadcrumbs, shaking off excess before placing in the shallow baking dish.
3) Once all chicken is coated and in the baking dish, spread a dollop of pesto on top of each piece of chicken. Then generously cover with Parmesan. Finally, top entire dish with remaining tomato sauce. Feel free to add more sauce if you'd like.
4) Pop in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

My friend Ashley came over for dinner that night and loved the meal. She said if I hadn't told her, she wouldn't have known I used gluten free breadcrumbs. I deem this meal a success!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Turkey, Mushroom and Pepper Soup

 The big day is tomorrow!! Is it weird that I'm excited to get an endoscopy?? I certainly don't think so. After tomorrow, I will have more conclusive facts about what's going on with my body. My doctor and I are highly certain that I have Celiac so the test will confirm that and rule out any other diseases like Chron's or Colitis. I'll also learn how much damage is already done and will get the results of my bone density scan. That is a lot of information so I'm pretty excited about it!

To prep for the big day, I only have to fast for 6 hours. I planned ahead and took the day off so I can sleep rather than think about how hungry I am. I'll have a meal at 8 am then crawl right back in bed! :) That's not a bad Wednesday, don't you think?

Since I'll be a little out of it after the procedure, I made a huge pot of turkey, mushroom and pepper soup tonight so I just reheat it when I get home. I took a trip to Trader Joe's on Monday and stocked up on fruit and veggies so it worked out perfectly. As I was cooking, I kept adding things but it turned out great!

1 lb ground turkey
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 orange pepper, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
4 cups chicken broth

1) Add olive oil to a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook until browned all the way through. Move to one side of the pan
2) Sautee onion, peppers and tomatoes until soft, about 8 minutes. After they've cooked for about 4 minutes, add the mushrooms in. These don't need as long to cook. Once veggies are cooked, add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3) Next, add in the broth to the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, then add corn. Since this is frozen, it doesn't need long to cook. At the same time, add the cooked rice so that it soaks up the flavors.
4) The soup is ready to enjoy after about 10 more minutes of simmering with the corn and rice included.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

While I was searching for recipes before making the Stuffed Peppers, I got a huge craving for sweets. It didn't help that I was searching on Pinterest, where dessert recipes are pretty much every other post, but I was on a mission to fill my craving! I love chocolate chip cookies so obviously, cookie bars are even better.

I wasn't quite sure how they'd turn out since I haven't dabbled in gluten free baking before but I did a little research and figured out how to swap flours to make it work. I think adding xanthum gum would have made them a bit fluffier but I have yet to find it at my local grocery stores. Maybe next time. In the end, I fulfilled my craving I was happily surprised by the result of the flour swap.

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/8 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 cup milk, or semi-sweet chocolate chips, I probably used closer to 1/2 cup!

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8″ square pan and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3) In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until smooth. 

 4) Remove from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter. Allow to cool.

5) Add the egg to the butter & sugar mixture and mix well.

6) Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

7)  Pour the mixture into the prepared dry ingredients, and stir to create a thick, smooth batter.

8)  Fold in half the chocolate chips, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top.

9) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and lightly press them into the batter.

10)  Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden and the edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool in the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

And voila!! My first gluten free dessert!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gluten Free Cauliflower, Pork and Beef Stuffed Peppers

I've been dying to use my Crock-Pot and every time I think about it, I get too lazy to run to the grocery store in the morning, or night before, so I can prep the meal to cook all day. Last weekend was no different. I planned ahead and settled on stuffed peppers, but of course, my day got away from me and I ended up getting home from the store at 4 pm. If I had used the Crock-Pot, dinner wouldn't have been ready until at least 9 so that idea was off the table. Thankfully, cooking stuffed peppers on the stove top are equally as easy so I didn't abandon my plan.

I had never made stuffed peppers before but LOVE my Deconstructed Stuffed Red Pepper Soup recipe so I was looking forward to tasting this recipe. I though I'd take a healthier route so instead of finding a recipe with rice stuffed peppers, I found one that used cauliflower instead. I think it helped to make the peppers more moist and definitely added great flavor. I think I would prefer this recipe with red peppers over green, but it really is all about preference.

While the peppers were cooking, I baked Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies, so be on the lookout for that recipe soon.

2 pounds ground pork, or a combination of pork and beef. I used both
4 large green peppers 
1 large onion
2 carrots
4 cloves garlic
1/2 head cauliflower
6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry oregano 
1 tablespoon dry, Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Cut the tops of the peppers and clean the seeds out. Arrange peppers in a deep baking dish or slow cooker standing up and make sure they fit securely.
2) Grate onion, carrots, garlic and cauliflower in the food processor. You can also just chop them into small pieces with a knife if you don’t have a food processor. I did it this way. It took some time but worth the effort.
3) In a big bowl, combine ground pork, shredded vegetables, seasonings and tomato paste.
4) Add salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and arrange leftover meat between the peppers. Cooked in the oven, covered, for 1-2 hours, or 8-10 hours on low in the slow cooker.

Minced cauliflower, carrot, onion and garlic mixture

Combining the veggies with the meat before filling the peppers
Filled peppers, with excess meat and veggie mixture surrounding the stuffed peppers

The finished product! They looked much brighter before cooking but they tasted great