Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

 After an amazingly relaxing vacation, I couldn't wait to get back to cooking this week. While I was in Canada we ate very well, but there is something about preparing a meal in my own home that makes me so happy. And when it comes to home cooking, Italian food is where it's at for me.

Until now, I haven't attempted a gluten free version of meatballs but have been craving them so much. I enjoyed some great chicken meatballs at The Meatball shop and was inspired to try my own version, stuffed with mozzarella. This recipe turned out great! My boyfriend and I absolutely loved them! I served them over my favorite homemade sauce that I had stored in the freezer.

1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 5 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Sauce of your choice

1) Preheat oven to 400 F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
2) In a skillet and set over medium heat add the onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. Remove the onion and garlic to the plate and allow to cool slightly.
3) In a medium sized bowl, add breadcrumbs, egg, chicken, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and the parsley. Use your hands to gently combine the ingredients.
4) Form the mixture into 12 meatballs. Poke a hole in the middle and stuff with mozzarella then cover with meat. Set in a 9x13 baking dish.
4) Stir together the remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and the oil then brush over meatballs (the paste/oil won't combine in any cohesive manner, just do the best you can).
5) Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
6) Serve over your favorite sauce and enjoy!

How AMAZING does that look!?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta in White Wine Sauce

If you've followed me for more than a week you'd know I LOVE making new pasta dishes. Last night was no exception. Tomorrow I'll be traveling for work for two days, then going on vacation for over a week. So much to do, so little time. Although I was in a time crunch to pack and prepare for my trips, I was able to enjoy a delicious meal...with wine in it no less!! OBVIOUSLY I had to finish the entire bottle. I couldn't let it go to waste while I was away. ;)

8 oz gluten free spaghetti noodles
14 to 16 shrimp, deveined and tails removed 
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

1) Cook noodles as directed on package. Reserved 1/2 cup of cooking water in case your sauce is a bit thick; you can use the reserved water to thin it out as desired.
2)  In a skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter then add shrimp. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side, until pink. Once cooked, move shrimp to the edge of the pan. Add the garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Once softened, stir shrimp back into the mix and add wine and last tablespoon of butter. Cook until wine has reduced by about half then stir in parmesan and turn off heat.
3) Toss in cooked pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste. If your sauce does not fully cover, this would be the time to add a little bit of the reserved cooking water from the pasta. I always add more parmesan at this point too! ;)


Friday, August 9, 2013

Healthier Chocolate Cupcakes

Several months back...okay, maybe more than a year ago... I made cupcakes for a co-workers birthday. Since cupcakes use to kind of be my thanggg on this blog AND it was my first time baking at ACS I had to make sure I tried out a fantastic new recipe. I saw so many recipes on Pinterest that suggested substituting oil for greek yogurt or applesauce so I decided to start with the latter of the two.

Disclaimer: I did this pre-Celiac so I am not sure how this will turn out with a gluten free boxed cake mix, but I can say that it worked like a charm for regular Duncan Hines chocolate mix. You simply replace all other ingredients listed on the box with one cup of sugar free applesauce. That's it! It may sound like it wouldn't bake right, but trust me, it did. They were delicious!

In addition to the twist on the cake recipe, I really wanted to try out the new (at the time) Dunkan Hines Flavor Creations frosting. I decided to go with hazelnut since I thought it would compliment the chocolate and applesauce in the cake. I followed the mixing instructions on the packets and I have to tell you... it was awful!!! Like, I wouldn't feed it to my worst enemy, awful! The frosting was so overly sweet it hurt my teeth. I had no time to start a new batch from scratch so I worked my magic by adding cream cheese to offset the sweetness and a little milk to thin it out a bit. It still wasn't quite right so I also added some cocoa powder and a little bit of confectioners sugar. After a few minutes of mixing and tweaking, I had a decent frosting that I was comfortable sharing with colleagues. Word to the wise: don't waste your time on Frosting Creations. You'll be far better off spending a few extra minutes making your frosting from scratch.

When all was said and done, I had a great story to tell about my experiments in the kitchen and some delicious cupcakes to share at work! They looked fab, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Homemade Pizza Night!

Who doesn't love pizza? Especially, grabbing a slice after a long night of dancing with friends...yea, that doesn't happen anymore but it certainly does during movie night at home! :) I should have known my trusty friends at Udy's would have the perfect frozen crust! Thankfully, I got my hands on a two-pack so tonight, we set out to make the perfect pie.

My favorite pizza to make is a white pie with garlic and oil as a base but tonight I wanted to mix it up. I had some left over Yolonda Pesto from last week so I slathered that on below a thick layer of shredded mozz, a few diced onions, diced red pepper, cherry tomatoes and pepperoni!

It was deeee-licious! The perfect blend of salty and sweet. And the crust was great! If I didn't know I was eating a gluten free crust, I would have just assumed it was any ordinary thing crust, which is a HUGE compliment for those of you that don't know how hard that is to come by in the gluten free world. I'll definitely be buying Udy's crusts again.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gluten Free Shimp and White Bean Pesto

No matter how hard I try, I always reach a point where I am completely out of groceries. I don't mean that I have like 3 things in the fridge, I mean absolutely nothing except condiments. I've hit some pretty major lows in my life, but never low enough to suffer through a few squirts of cetchup as a meal. Thankfully, I rarely let my freezer or pantry run dry and tonight, that was my savior.

After a long day at work I was able to scan my kitchen and whip up gluten free pasta with shrimp, white beans and pesto! And not just any pesto -  locally made pesto from Yolanda Pesto. I believe Yolanda Pesto it is a one woman show, which is incredible and on top of that, it's the best pesto I've ever had. Every bite tastes like you just made it from freshly cut basil. MMm mm! I could put this on everything, and I probably will but for tonight, check out this recipe!

8 oz gfree pasta
1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved cooking water from pasta
8 to 10 shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 can white beans
1/3 cup of Yolanda Pesto, or other pesto of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

1) Cook pasta as directed on package. Be sure to reserve the cooking water for later.
2) Heat oil in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Toss in shrimp and cook until pink, about two minutes on each side. Just as shrimp is finishing, toss in white beans to slightly heat.
3) Turn off the heat then add the pesto and 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water. Stir until combined. If pesto is still chunky and not fully covering the pasta, add a little bit of the reserved water until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

I will say, the color of this dish is pretty bland looking but the flavor is amazing!