Friday, March 30, 2012

BBQ Portobello Pretzel Burgers

BBQ Portobello Pretzel Burgers are amazingly delicious and super flavorful.

I've mentioned before that my husband's favorite burger at a local restaurant is the Pretzel Burger. I've never been able to enjoy the burger with the pretzel bun, so instead I recreated a gluten free and vegetarian version at home. I have to admit it's pretty awesome. A salty and savory pretzel bun is combined with meaty mushrooms, cheddar cheese, onions, and sweet BBQ sauce. Yum!

BBQ Portobello Pretzel Burgers
·1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·2 large portobello mushroom caps
·Salt and pepper
·2 TBS balsamic vinegar
·2 slices cheddar cheese
·Gluten free BBQ sauce
·Sliced onions
·2 homemade pretzel buns

Directions:Remove stems and gills from the mushroom caps. Gently rub with a paper towel to remove any dirt. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add EVOO and mushroom caps. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes on each side. Pour 1 TBS of vinegar on top of the mushroom caps. When vinegar has evaporated, turn mushrooms cap side up and place a slice of cheese on top. Remove from heat and cover with a lid for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.

Cut the pretzel buns in half and slather with BBQ sauce. Place 1 portobello, cap side up, on top of each bun bottom. Top with onions and bun tops.

Yield: 2

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gluten Free Soft Pretzels and Pretzel Bites

These Gluten Free Soft Pretzels taste like the real thing. They are soft, salty, and slightly chewy. My favorite way to enjoy them is to dunk them in homemade cheese sauce.

My sister has been making these gluten free pretzels for awhile and they taste like real soft pretzels should taste. Ever since I've had my sister's gluten free pretzels, I've been wanting to try the recipe with a healthier gluten free flour blend. I was so happy with the final outcome - they taste just as good as my sister's; definitely As Good As Gluten.

Before I watched my sister effortlessly make these delicious gluten free pretzels, I was intimidated by the recipe. It looked like a recipe for disaster with proofing the yeast, proofing the dough, and preparing a soda bath. It may look like a lot, but I promise if I can do it you can too!

As a bonus, this recipe is versatile. I recently made this recipe three ways - as soft pretzels, as pretzel bites, and as pretzel buns. Here are the cute, popable pretzel bites. I'll share the pretzel buns tomorrow.

Gluten Free Soft Pretzels, Pretzel Bites, and Pretzel Buns
Adapted from Jules Shepard

·¾ cup brown rice flour
·¼ cup flaxseed meal
·⅓ cup plus 2 TBS potato starch
·1 tsp xanthan gum
·½ tsp salt
·1 package active dry yeast
·1 tsp granulated sugar
·⅓ cup warm water (110˚)
·1 TBS honey
·1 egg
·Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·⅔ cup baking soda
·1½ TBS melted butter
·Additional toppings of choice (i.e., coarse salt, cinnamon and sugar)

Preheat oven to 200˚. In a glass cup, mix warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand to proof for 5 minutes.

In a kitchen stand mixer bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Mix on low for one minute. Remove half of the ingredients to a separate bowl.

Add the yeast mixture, egg, and honey to the stand mixer. Beat on low speed for one minute, or until dry and wet ingredients are well-blended. Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend until well-mixed. If the dough is too dry, add an additional ½ to 1 tsp warm water.

Roll out dough into pretzels, pretzel bites, or form into buns. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Liberally brush the pretzels with EVOO. Heat a damp cloth in the microwave for 30 seconds. Cover the pretzels with the cloth and proof in the warm oven for 30 minutes.

15 minutes before the proofing is complete, prepare a soda bath by combining baking soda and 10 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until soda is completely dissolved.

Remove proofed pretzels from the oven and preheat oven to 375˚. Once the soda bath is boiling, gently submerge the pretzels individually into the bath for 25 seconds, flipping over after about 15 seconds. Drain the pretzels and replace on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the pretzels with melted butter and top with salt or other toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bourbon Bananas Foster (Crockpot)

This simple and impressive dessert is definitely one to serve guests. The flavor is phenomenal and it couldn't be easier for you to prepare. It was absolutely delicious served warm over all natural vanilla bean ice cream.

Bourbon Bananas Foster
Recipe inspired by A Year of Slow Cooking

·3 over-ripe bananas
·3 TBS butter
·¼ cup brown sugar
·¼ cup bourbon
·½ tsp vanilla
·½ tsp allspice

Place bananas in the bottom of a 2 quart crockpot and mash with a potato masher. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, or on high for 1-2 hours. Stir and enjoy over vanilla ice cream.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dijon Fish Cakes

Flavors of dill and Dijon mustard pair well with mild, flaky fish resulting in a tasty fish cake. I really enjoyed this meal Mike prepared last weekend.

The fish texture is evident without the fishy taste in these Dijon Fish Cakes. I am finding that I really like mild, white, flaky fish if it is seasoned to my preferences. This Lenten season has definitely expanded my tastes for seafood.

Dijon Fish Cakes
Adapted from Real Simple

·8 oz. mild fish fillets (like tilapia, cod, or Pollock)
·Salt and pepper
·1 egg
·1 TBS Dill
·⅓ cup mayonnaise
·1 TBS Dijon mustard
·½ cup gluten free bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400˚. Place fish fillets in a metal baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and bake until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool and then flake fish into small pieces. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, egg, dill, and mustard. Fold in the fish and bread crumbs. Form the mixture into 4-6 cakes and chill for 30 minutes. Heat the EVOO in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the fish cakes until golden, 3-5 minutes per side.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Parmesan Breaded Tilapia with Roasted Parmesan Asparagus and Brown Rice

This delicious and healthy meal doubles up on the parmesan with Parmesan Breaded Tilapia and Roasted Parmesan Asparagus. This meal was easy to prepare and flavorful.

The fish was stellar, but the real star of this meal was the asparagus. Even my asparagus-hating-husband likes roasted asparagus. When I was growing up, my neighbors had an asparagus farm. We ate asparagus a lot when it was in season, and I've always liked it. Mike, on the other hand, has always hated asparagus - until he ate Roasted Parmesan Asparagus. It's crisp and flavorful; we devoured it.

To prepare the brown rice, I used my crockpot as a rice cooker by using this tip from Stephanie O'Dea. It was the easy to make and turned out perfectly. I doubled the recipe and saved the leftovers to serve with other meals throughout the week.

Parmesan Breaded Tilapia with Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
Tilapia Ingredients:
·½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
·1 TBS Italian seasoning
·¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
·½ tsp paprika
·½ tsp garlic powder
·¼ cup skim milk
·1 egg
·2 lbs tilapia fillets
Asparagus Ingredients:
·1 bunch of asparagus
·1 tsp each - salt, pepper, and onion powder
·1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450˚. Mix bread crumbs, spices, and cheese in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, mix milk and egg. Dip each tilapia fillet in the egg mixture then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Place breaded fillets on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fish is flaky when cut into with a fork.

Lay asparagus out on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with seasonings. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cheese, and then return to the oven for a few minutes until cheese melts.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes are fluffy, hearty, and tasty. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings, or stir in fruit or chocolate chips into the batter for endless flavor opportunities.

Before I was gluten free, I used to love having pancakes for breakfast on the weekend. Since becoming gluten free a year and a half ago, I've only had pancakes for breakfast a few times. I've been intimidated about making gluten free pancakes from scratch because in my pre-gluten free days I never made pancakes from scratch. I always used Bisquick. The few times that I've had pancakes since becoming gluten free have been with King Arthur Flour's Gluten Free Pancake Mix. How could I possibly make gluten free pancakes from scratch if I never made regular pancakes from scratch before? As it turns out, this task was actually easy.

Last weekend I put my intimidation behind me and made gluten free pancakes from scratch. And, I am so glad I did. My Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes are so good that I am kicking myself for not making gluten free pancakes from scratch sooner. The recipe I came up with is honestly an easy and delicious pancake recipe. The best part is that it requires only one gluten free flour ingredient that is healthy - brown rice flour. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Pancakes
·1 egg
·1¼ cup buttermilk
·2 TBS butter, melted
·2½ TBS sugar or honey
·1¼ cup brown rice flour
·2 tsp baking powder
·½ tsp baking soda

In a large bowl, beat egg until foamy. Add buttermilk and butter and mix until well blended. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended. Be careful not to over stir, it is okay if the batter is slightly lumpy.

Fry pancakes in a non-stick skillet for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Yield: 4 servings

I've also shared this recipe on: This Week's Craving

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes are cute bite-sized potatoes packed full of delicious taste. Mike and I enjoyed these last weekend for St. Patrick's Day. We could have easily eaten the entire batch, but somehow self-control prevailed (for once)!

I quickly prepared this meal with a bag of microwave-ready baby potatoes from the produce aisle in my local grocery store. If you can't find these at your store, I suggest boiling baby potatoes in water until they are soft but still firm. Then you can continue with the recipe below by mashing the cooked potatoes, seasoning them, and throwing them under the broiler.

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
·1½ lb bag of microwave ready baby yellow potatoes
·1½ TBS butter
·2 tsp EVOO
·1-2 tsp of salt, pepper, and onion powder (season to taste)
·¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Microwave potatoes according to package directions. When potatoes are finished cooking, place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Gently smash each potato with a potato masher. Place a pat of butter in the center of each smashed potato. Drizzle the tops with EVOO, season with spices, and sprinkle with cheese. Cook under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is browned.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang Bang Shrimp is super flavorful and slightly spicy. The crispy texture and creamy sauce masks the shrimpy taste, making this a dish I enjoyed.

After Mike made his Cornmeal Fried Shrimp last week, I searched Pinterest for more shrimp recipes. I wanted to try another recipe to see if I really do like shrimp, or if it was just a fluke. Mike made Bang Bang Shrimp for dinner last week and I liked it! I'm shocked. Two shrimp recipes in one week?! And, I (the self-proclaimed shrimp hater) liked them both?! Even more shocking.

Mike made a few changes to the recipe linked below. To make it gluten free, he substituted gluten free all-purpose flour and gluten free breadcrumbs. Instead of deep-frying the shrimp, he pan fried them in skillet with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Click here for the Bang Bang Shrimp recipe

Monday, March 19, 2012

Butternut Squash Gratin

Flavorful Butternut Squash Gratin is a sweet and savory side dish. The squash and apples add the sweetness, which pairs nicely with the savory onions and sharp cheddar cheese.

Butternut Squash Gratin
Adapted from Simple Bites

·3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced into small chunks
·½ cup onion, finely chopped
·½ cup apple, finely chopped
·1 egg
·½ tsp salt
·2 TBS light mayonnaise
·⅔ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
·⅓ cup gluten free breadcrumbs
·Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place diced butternut squash into a microwave safe bowl with 2 teaspoons of water. Cover and steam on high for 3 minutes.

Heat EVOO in a small pan and add onions. Sauté on medium heat, stirring often, until softened.

In a medium bowl, beat egg, salt and mayonnaise together. Add ⅓ cup of cheese, breadcrumbs, onion, apple, and squash. Gently fold together to combine. Season with pepper.

Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining ⅓ cup of cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through and cheese on top is slightly browned. Serve hot.

Yield: 4-6

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mike’s Cornmeal Fried Shrimp

My husband wrote this tasty shrimp recipe. While I hate having a kitchen smell like fried food, Mike's Cornmeal Fried Shrimp is crispy and flavorful. Even I, a self-proclaimed shrimp hater, liked it.

As you know, I am not a fan of seafood. Over the past year, I've been trying fish more often. I am finding that I like mild, white, flaky fish if it is seasoned to my taste. Mike made shrimp last week for himself for dinner. I've had cocktail shrimp in the past and I hated it. I don't know why I decided to try Mike's shrimp dish. Too my surprise, I liked it! The fried cornmeal batter was flavorful enough to somewhat mask the shrimpy taste.

While giving up meat for Lent has been hard, it has been exciting too as I keep expanding my pallet. If you would have told me a month ago that I would actually enjoy mushrooms and shrimp, I would have laughed in your face.

What are your favorite shrimp recipes that you'd recommend I try?

Mike’s Cornmeal Fried Shrimp
·12 pre-cooked shrimp
·½ cup cornmeal
·1 TBS onion powder
·1 TBS garlic powder
·½ tsp cayenne pepper
·1 tsp each - salt and pepper
·1 egg

In a shallow bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate shallow bowl, beat the egg. Toss shrimp in the cornmeal mixture and then place in the egg mixture to coat. Then toss the shrimp back in the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly.

Fill the bottom of a large skillet with EVOO, about 3 TBS. Heat the oil, then add the prepared shrimp. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side until batter is brown. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mint Shamrock Sandwich Cookies

Happy St. Patrick's Day! In honor of the Irish holiday and my Irish heritage, Mike and I are celebrating with potato dishes and these Mint Shamrock Sandwich Cookies...

These cute shamrock shaped cookies are sweet and sinful; definitely As Good As Gluten! They taste like a mint cream Oreo, which I'm not sure even exist. But a gluten free version does in my kitchen now, and it is delicious.

Two summers ago my family vacationed in Europe, which included a four day trip to Dublin. Mike and I absolutely loved Dublin; we had a blast. We reminisce about Ireland every St. Patrick's Day; I can't wait to go back someday.

In my cookie recipe, you'll notice that I colored the mint cream filling with spinach juice. Yes, you read that right, spinach juice. Don't worry, you can't taste even a hint of it. If you prefer to use green food coloring, it will work in place of the spinach juice. I would assume that the juice from any other green vegetable would also work.

You may be wondering how did I make spinach juice? With my Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. I haven't wrote about juicing on my blog before, but if you're interested I can post more about it another day. The cliff notes version is that my mom has been juicing for years upon years. My siblings and I dreaded "juice shots" when we were growing up. Now that we're grown and finally believe the benefits my mom has been telling us for years about juicing, we request a juice every time we go home. We've also upgraded from shots of juice to full glasses. The benefits of juicing are immense, and Mike and I juice a few times a month. My favorite juice growing up was Apple-Carrot juice, but lately Mike and I have been enjoying Apple-Orange-Carrot-Spinach juices. Which is where the inspiration to use spinach juice as a natural food coloring source came from.

Now that I've digressed to my Ireland and juicing, back to the delicious cookie recipe...

Mint Shamrock Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from my gluten free Oreo Cookies recipe

Chocolate Wafer Ingredients:
·¾ cup brown rice flour
·½ cup potato starch
·½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·1 tsp baking soda
·¼ tsp baking powder
·¼ tsp salt
·1 cup sugar
·½ cup & 2 TBS butter, softened
·1 egg
Cream Filling Ingredients:
·¼ cup butter, softened
·¼ cup Crisco
·1½ cups powdered sugar
·1½ tsp mint extract
·3-4 tsp spinach juice

Preheat oven to 375˚. In the kitchen mixer bowl, thoroughly mix the dry cookie ingredients. While on low speed, add the butter and then the egg. Continue mixing until the dough comes together in a mass.

On a silicone baking mat or greased surface, use a rolling pin to roll cookie dough out until ¼ - ½ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut dough into shamrock shapes. Place shamrock cookies onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, three to four inches apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Set baking sheets on stovetop to cool for 10 minutes, before transferring to a cookie rack to cool for 10 more minutes.

To make the cream filling, place butter and Crisco in a kitchen mixing bowl. At low speed, gradually beat in the powdered sugar and mint. Add the spinach juice for coloring and turn the mixer on high. Beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, spoon or pipe cream filling onto the bottom center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie.

Yield: approximately 25 shamrock sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter

I've also shared this recipe on: This Week's Craving, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Friday, March 16, 2012

Potato Pancakes

Savory potato pancakes are a tasty side dish that's versatile enough to serve with a variety of meals. Mike and I don't make these too frequently, but every time we do we question why we don't make them more often because we really love them.

Potato Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Bride & Groom First and Forever cookbook by Corpening sisters

·1 lb potatoes, peeled
·½ small onion, peeled and cut in half
·2 eggs, lightly beaten
·3 TBS gluten free all-purpose flour blend
·1 tsp salt
·¼ tsp pepper
·Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Using a handheld grater, grate the potatoes and onions. Wrap the potatoes and onions in a paper towel and squeeze tightly, removing as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a large bowl and add the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper; mix well.

Fill the bottom of a large skillet with EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, drop ¼-cup spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the skillet. Do not overcrowd the skillet. Using a fork, spread the each dollop of potato mixture into 3-inch pancakes. Fry until crispy and golden, about 5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat if the edges darken too quickly.

Transfer the potato pancakes to a paper-towel lined plate. Add more oil, as necessary, between batches. Serve with a spoonful of applesauce on top.

Yield: 4-6

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Nutella Hot Chocolate is rich and decadent. A warm glass of chocolate hazelnut cocoa is a chocoholic’s best friend in the morning.

I recently bought my first jar of Nutella (I know, I'm way behind). I have no idea why it took me so long, but I'm so glad I finally jumped on the Nutella-obsession-bandwagon. The first thing I made with my jar of Nutella was a Nutella Bagel. I toasted a Udi's gluten free bagel for breakfast and slathered it with Nutella. One bite instantly took me back to Paris...

I studied abroad in college, which included a week in Paris in my pre-gluten free days. For breakfast, I had a croissant filled with this chocolaty nutty goodness. I forgot about my breakfasts in Paris until I took a bite of my Nutella Bagel last week. I was instantly back in Paris and now know that the chocolaty nutty goodness filling inside my croissant was NUTELLA!
If you know me, you know what's next. I'm in my kitchen recreating a gluten free Nutella croissant relying on my taste buds and memories of Paris.

What are your favorite ways to eat Nutella? I'm on a Nutella kick now and am enjoying it every way I can think of!

Click here for the Nutella Hot Chocolate recipe

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Butternut Squash Pizza

This Butternut Squash Pizza is flavorful and healthy. The combination of butternut squash, caramelized onions, spinach, cheese, and basil is delish!

Butternut Squash Pizza
·GF Pizza Crust (Roll into pizza crust instead of folding over to make a calzone)
·¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·3 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cut into small dices
·¼ cup prepared Crockpot Caramelized Onions, finely chopped
·1 cup of fresh spinach leaves, chopped
·1 cup of shredded pizza blend cheese
·2 tsp dried basil

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 400˚. Prepare pizza dough according to recipe. Place diced butternut squash into a microwave safe bowl with 2 teaspoons of water. Cover and steam on high for 3 minutes.

Carefully remove the hot pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle the pizza stone with corn meal. Place prepared pizza dough on the hot pizza stone. Brush 3 TBS of EVOO onto the pizza dough. Top with onions, spinach, cheese, and butternut squash. Brush the remaining 1 TBS of EVOO on the butternut squash pieces. Sprinkle with dried basil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until dough is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Serves: 4-6

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is amazing. It tastes the same as spaghetti but is better for you. We even like the texture of the squash noodles better than spaghetti noodles.

My husband was less than thrilled when I told him I was making Spaghetti Squash for dinner last week. He moaned and groaned as it was cooking and as I placed it on the dinner table. And then he took a bite and said, "That's surprisingly ridiculously delicious." We both loved this meal and can't wait to make it again.

He went on to say, "I just can't get over how amazing this is. I really thought this was going to taste like sh*!. It's so good we can eat this after Lent. We could even add meat to it!" I wonder when he'll stop doubting my cooking. :)

Spaghetti Squash
·1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
·Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·Salt and pepper
·Marinara sauce
·Shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Drizzle the flesh with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet covered with foil. Bake for 45 minutes until squash is tender. Remove from oven and use a fork to loosen the squash “noodle” strands up. Stir in your favorite pasta sauce, top with cheese, and serve.

I've also shared this recipe on: Slighlty Indulgent Tuesday

Monday, March 12, 2012

Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

While it's not the prettiest meal to photograph, I promise that Portobello Mushroom Lasagna is rich, creamy, and delicious.

My all-time favorite meal is Four Cheese Lasagna. Since my birthday falls within Lent this year and we gave up meat for Lent, Mike and I had to make a vegetarian lasagna for my birthday dinner. We enjoyed it just as much as my Four Cheese Lasagna. The mushrooms add some meatiness and the creamy white sauce is rich and flavorful.

Portobello Mushroom Lasagna
Adapted from Ina Garten

·5-6 gluten free, no-boil lasagna noodles (I use De Boles)
·2 cups skim milk
·5 TBS butter, divided
·¼ cup brown rice flour
·½ tsp each – salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder
·1 lb portobello mushrooms
·1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚. Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. In a large saucepan, melt 4 TBS of butter. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder. Whisk for 3-5 minutes over medium-low heat, until thick. Remove from heat.

Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. If necessary, remove gills from the mushrooms. Dice the mushrooms into ¼–inch cubes. Heat EVOO and remaining 1 TBS of butter in a large skillet. When the butter melts, add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Stir occasionally to assure the mushrooms cook evenly.

Assemble lasagna by spreading some of the white sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top and cover with more sauce. Assure every inch of the lasagna noodles are covered in sauce so the no-boil noodles will cook in the oven. Spread half of the mushrooms on top of the sauce and top with ¼ cup of cheese. Add another layer of noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and cheese. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes, until the top is slightly browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas are easy to prepare, flavorful, and healthy.

Even though the picture doesn't look too appetizing, I promise that these Portobello Mushroom Pizzas taste delicious. Mike went a bit overboard removing the gills from the mushroom caps, so they flattened out completely when cooking.

During our meatless journey throughout Lent, I've recently discovered that I like mushrooms. I'm now on the hunt for new mushroom recipes to try, like this recipe for Portobello Mushroom Pizzas that I discovered on Pinterest. To amp up the flavor, we added sauteed onions and additional spices.

What are your favorite meatless mushroom recipes?

Click here for the Portobello Mushroom Pizza recipe (and a better picture)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday! I've had a great birthday and birthday weekend. For my cake this year, I wanted to celebrate with a real cupcake in my favorite flavor - Red Velvet. I haven't had Red Velvet Cake since I became gluten free a year and a half ago, which has been way too long. Since I like to complicate things, not only did I want a real Red Velvet Cupcake, but I wanted to bake it flourless with natural colors. This is how that attempt turned out...

Great flavor, but way too moist with sunken tops. I wanted so badly to try again, but it's my birthday and it's a gorgeous day out. Experimenting in the kitchen is not how I wanted to spend my day. Instead, I made some notes to improve my recipe next time (which will be soon) and turned to Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake Mix, red food coloring, and my husband to help. The outcome was...

completely and utterly successful! These gluten free Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting taste delicious and just like a real Red Velvet Cupcake. Happy Birthday to Me!

Click here for the Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake recipe - I followed the directions exactly. Instead of making one cake, I made 16 cupcakes which baked for 15-20 minutes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Asparagus Tart

This tasty vegetarian dish consists of perfectly cooked asparagus on top of a flaky, buttery tart that has been sprinkled with cheese.

When I served this for dinner last week, my husband asked "Is this it? Are there any other sauces or flavors that go on top?" I asked him to just eat it and tell me how it was. Well, it was so good that he had seconds without adding any other sauces or flavors (ahem, ketchup his go-to flavoring for everything). This Asparagus Tart is surprisingly filling and the buttery gluten free tart crust is amazing!

Asparagus Tart
GF Pastry Tart Crust Ingredients:
·1½ cup GF all-purpose flour
·¾ tsp xanthan gum
·1 TBS sugar
·½ tsp salt
·½ cup butter
·2 TBS milk
·1 TBS vodka
·2 tsp minced garlic liquid
Topping Ingredients:
·1½ cups shredded parmesan cheese
·1 lb asparagus
·1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·Salt and pepper

Sift together flour, xanthan gum, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Transfer dry ingredients to a food processor. Cut butter into tablespoon sized slices and place in the food processor with desired flavor. Pulse ingredients in the food processor, gradually adding milk and vodka, until a well-mixed dough is formed. Roll dough out on an ungreased baking sheet. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375˚. Bake tart crust for 15 minutes. Remove tart crust from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Trim the ends of the asparagus spears to fit in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with the EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, until tart crust is golden brown and asparagus is tender.

Yield: 4

Recipe inspired by Everyday Food from Martha Stewart

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos

Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos were quick to prepare and tasted fresh and delicious! We loved the flavorful meal so much that we've already made it twice. One bite instantly took me back to our Mexican vacation last summer...

Click here for the recipe from Skinny Taste

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Creamy Potato Soup

Not only is this Creamy Potato Soup recipe naturally gluten free, it is hearty and flavorful. The use of roasted vegetable purees adds additional flavor and nutrition.

Creamy Potato Soup
Modified from Jessica Seinfeld

·1 head cauliflower, chopped
·½ of an acorn or butternut squash, chopped or 5-6 carrots, chopped
·Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·Salt and pepper
·1 small to medium onion, chopped
·1 tsp minced garlic
·1½ cup homemade chicken or vegetable stock
·2 cups water
·1½ pounds of potatoes, peeled and chopped
·1 cup skim milk
·½ tsp salt
·½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Season cauliflower and squash (or carrots) with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Spread veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in a 425˚ oven until tender.

Meanwhile, heat a few teaspoons of EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.

Add the broth and potatoes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes).

Carefully spoon broth and potato mixture into a food processor or blender and add the roasted vegetables. Puree until smooth. Return puree to the large saucepan and add milk and salt. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until soup is well blended. Serve in bowls with shredded cheese sprinkled on top.

Yield: 8 servings

Monday, March 5, 2012

Brownie Bites and In My Pantry: Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix

Gluten Free Brownie Bites are indulgent dessert bites with endless possibilities. I enjoyed plain brownie bites, peanut butter cup brownie bites, rocky road brownie bites, and brownie trifles. The irresistible nature of Brownie Bites is dangerous as they so easily pop into your mouth!

Brownie Bites
·1 recipe for your favorite gluten free brownies
·Toppings of choice

Preheat oven to 325˚. Generously grease 24-36 mini muffin tins. Prepare brownie batter according to recipe and spoon by the tablespoon into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let brownie bites cool in the pan before removing.

Topping ideas:
  • Plain – leave as is for traditional brownie bites
  • Peanut Butter Cup – top with melted peanut butter and sprinkle with peanut butter chips and chocolate chips
  • Rocky Road – top with melted marshmallows and sprinkle with peanuts and chocolate chips
  • Brownie Trifle – layer brownie bites and your favorite ice cream in champagne glasses
  • Candy Bar – top with your favorite crushed chocolate candy bars
  • Mint Chocolate Chip – top with mint frosting and chocolate chips
  • Berry – top with your favorite berries

Yield: 24-36 brownie bites

Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Brownie Mix is As Good As Gluten. In my pre-gluten free days and before I started cooking from scratch, I relied on Betty Crocker's brownie mixes. As soon as I took a bite of my Brownie Bites, I remembered that signature Betty Crocker Brownie taste. My husband confirmed that these taste like the real thing and you can't even tell they are gluten free.

Sugar is the first ingredient on the ingredient label; so similar to my experience with the cookie mix, there was a lot of granular sugar when I poured the mix into the bowl. Luckily, the brownies baked better than the cookies and I couldn't taste granular sugar as I was eating the brownie bites. As a bonus, there are little chocolate chips in the gluten free brownie mix. While I enjoyed this product, I likely won't be buying it too frequently since I've learned to make delicious (and healthier) gluten free brownies from scratch that taste As Good As Gluten. However, when I need a quick batch of gluten free brownies in the future, I'll gladly turn to a box of these.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It's a product I bought and wanted to share with you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches is a quick and tasty way to enjoy leftover Crockpot Caramelized Onions.

Please ignore the pathetic bread. My yeast didn't proof right which resulted in small slices. I didn't have any yeast left to try again, so I decided small gluten free bread slices were better than none.

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
·4 slices of Wondeful Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
·¼ cup Crockpot Caramelized Onions
·4 slices of gruyere or provolone cheese

Assemble the sandwiches with 1 slice of cheese on the bottom of 1 piece of bread, some caramelized onions in the middle and another slice of cheese on top. Top with another slice of gluten free bread. Repeat to make another sandwich. Butter both sides of the sandwiches and place in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip the sandwiches and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe inspired by Jeff Mauro

Friday, March 2, 2012

French Onion Risotto

This French Onion Risotto tastes just like a bowl of French Onion Soup (without the crusty bread).

When I went through my risotto phase obsession earlier this year, I asked my readers to share their favorite risotto recipes for me to try. Debbi's recipe for French Onion Risotto intrigued me. My inspiration aligned last weekend when I made caramelized onions in the crockpot and also watched Ina Garten make a basic risotto in the oven. While I occasionally enjoy standing over the stove and stirring risotto, this easier method of preparing risotto in the oven is a huge time saver and the outcome is the same - naturally gluten free, creamy and flavorful risotto! This method works for any risotto recipe, since the only ingredients that go into the oven are the rice and broth/water.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my risotto obsession this winter, my brain is on to the next thing - making a much healthier risotto. I'll be sure to share once it's perfected.

French Onion Risotto
·1½ cups Arborio rice
·3½ cups homemade beef broth (for optimal flavor use broth from Crockpot Caramelized Onions)
·1½ cups water
·2 cups of caramelized onions (prepared in advance from my Crockpot Caramelized Onions recipe)
·3 TBS butter
·1½ tsp each – salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
·¼ cup port wine
·½ cups grated provolone or gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚. Place the rice, 2½ cups of beef broth, and water in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the oven and add the remaining beef stock (assure it is warm), caramelized onions, butter, seasonings, port, and cheese. Stir vigorously for 3-4 minutes, until rice is thick and creamy. Taste and adjust any seasonings to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Aioli and Cornbread Hamburger Buns

WOW! This Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Aioli on top of a Cornbread Hamburger Bun is "really freaking good!"

I've tried mushrooms many times in my life and have never liked them because of the texture. I'm shocked that not only did I like this Portobello Burger, but I absolutely loved it. By the time I came back to the kitchen to eat after photographing my burger, Mike already inhaled his and exclaimed "That was really freakin' good!" I'm shocked and delighted that we both loved this meal. The contrast of a savory portobello burger with a sweet cornbread hamburger bun was phenomenal. It was messy to eat, but the taste was well worth the messy hands.

I found inspiration for this A-MAZ-ING meal from a few different places. There is a local restaurant where we live that serves my husband's favorite Pretzel Burger. Before Lent began, Mike and I went out to dinner to have our favorite burger one last time. I've never gotten to enjoy the pretzel bun that Mike raves about, but I do enjoy the meaty beef patty topped with caramelized onions and garlic aioli. When I came across a Portobello Burger with Green Sauce recipe in a Rachael Ray cookbook and a recipe for Cornbread Hamburger Buns, my inspiration was complete. I don't have a hamburger pan, so I baked the buns on a cookie sheet. I will definitely be making them again, so I'm sure I'll get better at free-forming the buns as I go.

Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Aioli
·1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·2 large portobello mushroom caps
·Salt and pepper
·2 TBS balsamic vinegar
·2 slices provolone cheese
·¼ cup mayonnaise
·1 tsp minced garlic
·Splash of lemon juice
·Caramelized onions for topping
·2 gluten free cornbread hamburger buns

Remove stems and gills from the mushroom caps. Gently rub with a paper towel to remove any dirt. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add EVOO and mushroom caps. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes on each side. Pour 1 TBS of vinegar on top of the mushroom caps. When vinegar has evaporated, turn mushrooms cap side up and place a slice of cheese on top. Remove from heat and cover with a lid for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.

For the aioli, combine mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Slather cornbread bun tops with aioli. Place 1 portobello, cap side up, on top of each bun bottom. Top with caramelized onions and bun tops.

Yield: 2

I've also shared this recipe on: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday