Tuesday, October 25, 2011

World Pasta Day - Pasta topped with Tomato Sauce and a medley of vegetables, Olives and Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Ever wondered what to do with lots of cherry tomatoes?  Make pasta sauce...

This is a meal that is light, yet satisfies the taste buds.  The pasta used surprisingly is delicious, even without the sauce.

When first going gluten-free, I ate so much starchy rice pasta that I removed all from the pantry.  Now I add it back in small amounts because I honestly do love all kinds of pasta!

The complete meal is listed as each part is prepared

World Pasta Day- Dinner is served III B
Pasta topped with Tomato Sauce and a medley of vegetables, Olives and Shaved Parmesan Cheese


Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce
16 oz cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
1/2 cup sliced baby bellas, cooked
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp dried herb mix (mixture of thyme, marjoram, basil, chives or tarragon)
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried basil or 2 tbsp crushed fresh basil (frozen basil)

6 ounces Tinkyada Fettuccini Style PAD THAI, cooked according to package, drained and tossed with oil
1 tsp olive oil (for pasta)

Vegetable Medley
1/2 small eggplant, unpeeled, cubed, cooked in olive oil
1/2 cup chopped green pepper, diced
½ cup chopped sweet peppers, diced
1 cup baby bellas, diced
6 oz artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

Additional Toppings
3 ounces Black olives
4 tbsp shaved Parmesan Cheese


1. Place tomatoes in skillet with olive oil, garlic, peppers and sauté until skins begin to slip off tomatoes. Stir and cover for about 2 minutes.

 Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce - cooking tomatoes B

2. Add cooked mushrooms, water and stir.  Turn heat to medium, cook for about 2 minutes.  Turn heat off and allow cooling.

 Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce - ready for food processor B

3. Pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce - food processor complete B

Makes about 3 cups thick sauce

Cook pasta according to package.  Drain and toss 1 teaspoon olive oil into it.

Vegetable Medley
Place 1 tbsp olive oil in iron skillet, turn heat to high, then add eggplant, peppers and bellas. Sauté until all are tender. 

 World Pasta Day Vegetable Mix Sauteing B

Reduce heat to low, add artichoke hearts with basil and allow to simmer to heat the artichoke

 World Pasta Day Vegetable Mix Done II B

Serve it up!
Place pasta on plate, place a serving of sauce in center of pasta, Top with the vegetable medley, sprinkle about a tablespoon of shaved Parmesan cheese and place a few slices of black olives on top.

 World Pasta Day - Dinner is ready B

World Pasta Day- Dinner is served II B

And of course there is still room for dessert!

Flour-less Brownie served with ice cream B
Servings: 4
Nutrition Facts  for 4  (minus the dessert)
Nutrition (per serving): 454 calories, 14.7g total fat, 5.4g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 2.6g saturated fat, 4.4mg cholesterol, 67.9g carbohydrates, 11.8g fiber, 56.1g net carbohydrates, 11.8g sugar, 1.4g fructose, <1g galactose, 1.3g glucose, <1g sucrose, <1g maltose, 573.8mg sodium, 2390.3mg potassium, 16.4g protein, 137.2mg calcium, 2098.6IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, 18.3mcg vitamin b12, 133.6mg vitamin c, 0IU vitamin d, 1.9mg vitamin e, 11.7mcg vitamin k, 3.7mg iron, <1g lysine, 38.8mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, 2.5mg zinc.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stepped-Up Citrus-Flavored Cupcakes - Gluten-Free Option

I have a couple boxes of yellow gluten free cake mix that have been around since summer.  I am sure I only bought them because I got a ‘good deal’ on them, because I prefer  to bake from “scratch”.  I also had half a box, because I had attempted 6 cupcakes before.  Apparently they were not impressive, because I do not remember what I may have added to the batter.

I was in the kitchen trying to make some raisin bread.  The dough didn’t appear to rise after 30 minutes, so I warmed the oven and put it in.  Well, it started rising in the oven.  I also decided to use the temperature method to determine when it was done. I checked at 50 minutes and it was 180 F.  I guessed that another 10 to 15 minutes would be required to get to 200 F. 

I needed to find something to do while waiting, so I got the half box and  changed the amounts and flavoring on the fly.  I wanted orange flavor, but had no orange juice.  I thought maybe a combination of orange and lemon extracts would do it, so I added some of each.

This batter thickens up really fast, so just keep beating for at least a minute.

 These are my modifications.

To make the entire box, double everything except the half and half.  Work with doing 3/4ths and adding a little more until you get the consistency you desire.  Feel free to use all butter instead of part coconut oil.

Stepped-Up Citrus-Flavored Cupcakes
Stepped-up Cupcake - on display B

1/2 box gluten free yellow cake mix (7.5 oz.)
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
Frosting - optional1/4 container  prepared vanilla frosting
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp orange extract

1. Melt coconut oil
2. Beat eggs, butter, coconut oil, cream cheese and extracts until fluffy, beat in cake mix, along with half and half until blended. Beat an additional 30 seconds.  If additional liquid is needed, add it by the teaspoonful.
3. Divide batter among a 6-tin  paper lined cupcake pan.
4. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until edges are lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven, remove from cupcake pan.
6. Cool and optionally frost.

Stepped-Up Cupcakes B

Stepped-up Cupcake - a bite out B
Moist and the citrus flavor comes through
Stepped-up Cupcake - yum B

Servings: 6

Nutrition FactsNutrition (per serving): 324 calories, 13.7g total fat, 3.5g monounsaturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat, <1g linoleic acid, 7.2g saturated fat, 89.7mg cholesterol, 46.2g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 46.2g net carbohydrates, 27.6g sugar, 0mg stigmasterol, 0g starch, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, <1g sucrose, <1g maltose, 109.9mg sodium, 81.5mg potassium, 4g protein, <1mg iron, 35.8mg calcium, 305.7IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, 5.8IU vitamin d, 3.2mcg vitamin k, 6.1mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mg zinc.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick Meals - Sausage, Mixed Vegetables, Sweet Potato - Served with Brown Rice

Sometimes, I really do make a full meal instead of just the baked items.  Yes, I do eat normal food sometimes, not just the gluten-free baked food.

I could easily become a full vegetarian, omitting all meat, but I buy it sometimes, so I eventually eat it.
We all have a tendency to buy something because it’s on sale.

Since I love mixed vegetables, I have a few bags in the freezer.  I use them in soups, risotto and other rice dishes.  They are my staples along with different types of rice; dried beans and lentils; other grains like quinoa, buckwheat and oat groats; canned beans and low-sodium tomatoes. I always look for low-sodium frozen and canned vegetables.

Today, I could not decide what to cook for lunch or dinner.  I bought a few sweet potatoes at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago.  It was about time to use them of let them start rotting. I also had a package of sausage patties left from food bought for my guests last week.
So I thought, sausage and sweet potatoes, hmmm.  Why not throw in some mixed vegetables?  Next came the idea to serve over rice.  So the plan fell into place. 

This is a quick meal.  Only the sausage needs extra care to cook.  Feel free to use cooked Andouille sausage too.  I really liked mixed vegetables with the Andouille sausage!

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - served individually B

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato and Rice Dish

  1  10-ounce package   uncooked pork sausage patties (6)  (used Hormel)
  1   12-ounce package mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
  1 medium sweet potato peeled, cubed (8 ounce peeled)
  1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  1 tsp salt-free mixed herb seasoning (used Mrs. Dash)
  1/4 tsp sea salt
  1 cup brown rice ( used Uncle Ben's)
  1 tbsp margarine
  2 1/2 cups water (for rice)

Cook sausage according to package in a large cast iron skillet.
Peel and cube the sweet potato into small cubes while the sausage cooks, set aside
weighed it to get nutrients
 Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - sweet potato  B

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - sweet potato diced B

When sausage is done and browned, drain all fat from skillet. Cut the sausage into bite sized pieces.

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - sausage cooked B

  Add the sweet potatoes and stir to mix, cooking on medium to get skillet sizzling.  Turn to low.

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - sausage cooked potatoes added B

  Microwave frozen package of vegetables for 3 minutes.
  Add the package of vegetables and   1/2 cup of water to the skillet.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until potatoes and carrots are soft, not mushy.

  Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - Everything added B

Measure the rice, rinse and add to a medium sized pot as the skillet is cooking.  Add water according to package, plus the margarine. Cook at a simmer according to package.  It takes about 15 minutes for Uncle Ben’s.
Serve individually or mix together and serve.

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - served individually B

Sausage, Mixed Vegetable, Sweet Potato And Rice Dinner - served mixed B

Servings: 4 to 6

Nutrition Facts (6 servings)
Nutrition (per serving): 294 calories, 12.9g total fat, 1g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 3.8g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 37.9g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 34.4g net carbohydrates, 3.7g sugar, 4.8g starch, <1g fructose, 0g galactose, <1g glucose, <1g sucrose, 0g maltose, 249.9mg sodium, 268.4mg potassium, 7.3g protein, <1mg iron, 16.5mg calcium, 5408.8IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, 0IU vitamin d, <1mcg vitamin k, 3.8mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mg zinc.

Nutrition Facts (4 servings)
Nutrition (per serving): 441 calories, 19.3g total fat, 1.5g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 5.6g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 56.9g carbohydrates, 5.3g fiber, 51.6g net carbohydrates, 5.5g sugar, 7.2g starch, <1g fructose, 0g galactose, <1g glucose, 1.4g sucrose, 0g maltose, 374.9mg sodium, 402.6mg potassium, 10.9g protein, <1mg iron, 24.7mg calcium, 8113.2IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, 0IU vitamin d, 1mcg vitamin k, 5.8mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mg zinc.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie - gluten free

On the warmest day of October, I decided to make Chicken pot pie to use the left-over rotisserie  chicken.

I also decided that the freezer and refrigerator needed reorganizing.  There were lots of leftovers because I had three guests during the past week.

There was rotisserie chicken, pork chops, baked beans, potato casserole, pastrami and ham.  Also I had to decide what to do with a gallon of 2% milk and two small bottles of chocolate milk.  There were ice cream dots and four Skinny Cow White mint Truffle bars.  I read the list of ingredients and did not find wheat in the list, so I took my chances with one of the bars.  I prefer the dark chocolate ones.  The dots went in the garbage along with most of the baked beans and potato casserole.  

Maybe, I will plan food a little better if live-in guests visit again.  We could have eaten out, but I am still a bit shy about trusting that restaurants will not serve me food cross-contaminated with wheat.

I guessed I had enough chicken to make a small chicken pot pie, so I checked for other ingredients.  There are usually little frozen bits of celery, carrots, peppers and onions in the freezer.  Yes, I found some.  I also like Yukon Gold potatoes.   When I buy a bag, I cut any extras up, spray with oil and freeze. 

Yes, I had enough vegetables to make the dish.

I have made gluten-free chicken pot pie at least 3 times and just failed to write the recipe down.  I am mostly a “cuppa” this and a “cuppa” that type of cook.  I grew up around my Mom and Aunts with a pinch of this and a pinch of that when they cooked.  The cups and spoons used then were not the standard measure used today.

Now, if I actually write a recipe, there is a good chance I will weigh some ingredients to pass on the exact amounts.  This pot pie’s measurements are close approximations.   A little more or a little less does not really affect the recipe. 

So if anyone decides to make the recipe, the only possible changes would be in seasoning, as I like a lot of sage.  

 I never do full crust or a certain number of biscuits for pot pies.   I just dollop the biscuit mix over the top of the pie as evenly as I can.  I mix up batter as if to make drop biscuits and add an additional tablespoon of oil to it.

My original intention was to add green peas, but at the last minute added green beans.

So here goes my creation!   This is a picture of what was left……
Chicken Pot Pie - gluten free

 Chikn Pot Pie - dished B

1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup green beans, cooked, drained
2 cups water
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp marjoram
4 tsp Low-sodium Chicken Base (from a jar)
1 tsp rubbed sage
2 tbsp. freeze dried poultry herb blend
1 reduced sodium bouillon cube
2 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken, cubed (mostly breast)
Thickener Sauce
2 tbsp. tapioca flour
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. Garlic and Herb spice blend
2 tbsp. water (enough just to mix)
Biscuit topping
1 1/2 cups quick mix (a self-rising mix)
3 tbsp. grape seed oil or olive oil
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a large baking dish with oil; set aside.
2. Combine spices and vegetables in a medium sized pot on low heat and allow cooking for about 45 minutes
Chikn Pot Pie - carrots, potatoes, chicken and peas B

 Chikn Pot Pie - onions, celery, parsley, spices B

3. Combine thickener sauce.  Stir it into the pot, stirring, for about a minute.
4. Test for seasoning, if none is needed, continue
5. Ladle contents from pot into the prepared dish.  Spread chicken evenly over the dish. Push the chicken down into the vegetables.
6. Combine the Biscuit ingredients, just until mixed to the consistency of drop biscuits, adding water by teaspoon, if dough is too stiff.
7. Dollop the dough evenly over the dish.

Chikn Pot Pie - ready for oven  B

8. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes.

9. Remove from oven, serve immediately.   Store any left-overs in refrigerator

Chikn Pot Pie - served B

Chikn Pot Pie - served close up B

Servings: 6

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 452 calories, 14g total fat, 3.5g monounsaturated fat, 6.3g polyunsaturated fat, 2.7g saturated fat,  49mg cholesterol, 56.2g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 51.2g net carbohydrates, 4.3g sugar, <1g starch, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, 1.8g sucrose, <1g maltose, 504.8mg sodium, 912.7mg potassium, 25.6g protein, 49.4mg calcium, 2.2mg iron, 5829.2IU vitamin a, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 0IU vitamin d, 33mcg vitamin k, 2.2mg zinc, <1mg thiamin, 14.9mcg selenium.

Simple, wasn’t it? 
I always wondered why it is called chicken pot pie.
This info is from ehow.com

Ancient Greeks cooked meats and poultry in open pastry shells called artocreas, but the Romans added the top crust creating the first real pot pies.


Pot pies gained their name from the English tradition of forming a freestanding pie, called a coffin, by molding the pastry dough around the bottom of a pan or pot. Once removed from the pot, a variety of meats, poultry, game and vegetables were added and topped with a pastry cover. The English also made small meat filled pastries called "pasties." These pies, formed from a round circle of dough topped with meats and spices, were folded and sealed into a pocket that served as portable lunches. Initials or names carved in the top crust served both a vents for escaping steam, and to identify the owner of the pot pie.


Colonists relied on pastry shells to seal and cook chicken and vegetables, primarily due to the economic factor. A chicken potpie stretched the available chicken by adding plenty of vegetables and sealing it in a pastry shell. Pastry dough was more economical to make than other forms of breads, as it required only flour, water and fat.

New England

Chicken pot pie became a staple in the diet of New England families as it enabled women to feed their family a nutritious meal on limited resources. Some replaced the pastry shell with a covering of piping hot biscuits. Today chicken pot pie is made either with biscuits or with pastry shells, depending on the preferences of the family.

Basic ingredients include chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions and peas. Some recipes include celery and additional herbs. Often chicken potpie is made from leftover roast chicken. Covering the carcass with water, adding diced onions and simmering for hours creates a broth used as the base of the pie. Margarine or chicken fat mixed with flour and cooked into a thick bubbly roux creates the base of the sauce. Chicken broth is added and simmered to thicken into a rich sauce. Vegetables, generally in the proportions of three cups of potatoes, two cups of carrots and one cup of peas, are added to the sauce. Cut-up chicken covers the bottom crust and the vegetables and sauce cover the chicken. The top crust seals the pie and it is baked to a golden brown.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It’s Apple Season – Apple Pecan Pie Muffins(Gluten-free)

Apple season is upon us.   We can either go to the orchards and pick our own apples or visit a store selling fresh apples. Every year, I make plans to go to an orchard, but eventually end up buying them from a grocery store.

It is amazing how many varieties (new and existing) are available today. I remember growing up with just Red Delicious apples each fall or just for Christmas.  You see, we were the poor cousins in our little town and mostly only got apples as treats at Christmas time.

I do not really know one from the other other than they are sweet, tart, soggy or crisp apples.  I prefer sweet, crisp ones for eating and tart ones for baking.  Nothing beats Granny Smith for Apple Pies!

There was this big to do about apple juice having arsenic.  Hopefully, there isn’t enough to sicken a person in the seeds of the fresh apples, because I throw a small apple in when I make vegetable juice.  My main concern is they are not contaminated with salmonella, as there are so many food recalls for almost everything these days.

I wanted to make something today, just wasn’t sure what because I had just bought a 3-lb. bag from TJ’s. I have a recipe for Apple Coffee Cake, but wanted something different.  This recipe started out as a coffee cake, but turned into sort of a bread.  I decided at the last minute to bake it in muffin cups and put the left-over in a small pan, instead of using 8 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan.

One of these days, I will think of something besides muffins!  These make a nice breakfast or brunch muffin.

Apple Pecan Muffins - Ready to serve B
Apple Pecan Pie Muffins

1 cup gluten-free self-rising mix of your choice
1/4 tsp baking soda(only if mix does not contain it)
1/4 tsp baking powder* (non aluminum)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp apple pie spice
1/3 cup fat free half and half (or milk)
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)

Wet Mix
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1 medium sized sweet apple (2/3 cup diced)
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Topping (optional)
1 tbsp Turbinado Sugar
    *( I like a little extra rise)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8 cups of a 12 cup muffin pan with cup cake liners.

Prepare Wet Mix

Peel, core and dice apple. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add apples, pecans and brown sugar sweetener. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Apple Pecan Muffins - Pecans Butter and sugar B

Prepare remainder of ingredients

Whisk all other ingredients together in a mixing bowl, except egg and half and half. Apple Pecan Muffins - Whisk dry ingredients B

Stir in Wet Mix and egg. Stir in milk or half and half as needed.  Apple Pecan Muffins - Mix in Pecans Butter and sugar B

Divide batter into prepared cup cake tin

Apple Pecan Muffins - ready for oven B.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, remove from pan and allow to cool.
Apple Pecan Muffins - out of oven B

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy
Apple Pecan Muffins - Served B

Servings: 8 Yield: approximately 8 muffins

Nutrition Facts as prepared
Nutrition (per muffin): 152 calories, 2.9g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, <1g linoleic acid, 4g saturated fat, 8.7g total fat, 16mg cholesterol, 16.2g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 14.7g net carbohydrates, 2.8g sugar, <1mg stigmasterol, <1g starch, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, <1g sucrose, <1g sugar alcohols, 0g maltose, 115.7mg sodium, 90.9mg potassium, 2.7g protein, 54.8mg calcium, <1mg iron, 218.9IU vitamin a, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin k, <1mg zinc, <1mg thiamin, 2.5mcg selenium.

Increase cinnamon to 1 full tsp or Apple Pie spice to 1/2 tsp, if you like a more intense flavor