Featured

Not your Mama’s Tuna Salad

I’ve mentioned before that I was not the best cook in my early years. Prior to my marriage, Graves Disease, and Celiac Diagnosis, it was looking like all hope was lost. One thing I was always good at, thanks to my mother, was Tuna Salad. Some of my favorite memories were in the kitchen together, making Tuna Salad. It was always one of our favorites, and frequented our table often. I remember my mother saying, “If you know how to boil water, you can cook.” But for me, that was debatable! Luckily, I have had time to adapt and overcome.

Now I know Tuna Salad doesn’t require much “cooking,” but it is delicious and nutritious! Did you know it offers amazing levels of antioxidants, proteins, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and potassium? It also offers B12, niacin, B6, and riboflavin. Not only is it high in vitamins and minerals, but it also aids in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, helps in weight loss, boosts the immune system, increases energy, maintains skin health, increases red blood cell count (which helps with Anemia,) and reduces inflammation. Below you can find the Nutritional Facts of 1 cup of Tuna Salad (found on http://www.fitbit.com/foods/tuna+salad/23419.)

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size

1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories

383
Calories from Fat

171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat

19g
29%
Saturated Fat

3.2g
16%
Trans Fat

0g
Cholesterol

26.6mg
9%
Sodium

824.1mg
34%
Potassium

364.9mg
10%
Total Carbohydrate

19.3g
6%
Dietary Fiber

0g
0%
Sugars

0g
Protein

32.9g
66%
Vitamin A  4% Vitamin C  8%
Calcium  3% Iron  11%
Thiamin  4% Riboflavin  8%
Vitamin B6  8% Vitamin B12  41%
Niacin  69% Magnesium  10%
Phosphorus  36% Zinc  8%
Copper  15% Pantothenic Acid  5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Now, over the years my Tuna Salad recipe has evolved…It began back in that Independence, Missouri kitchen with my mother, including just Tuna, Relish, Mayo, Yellow Mustard, Celery, and Eggs. Then in college, I began to season my Tuna Salad (it still had the Relish and Mustard,) but once I met my husband, who DESPISES said Relish and Mustard, my recipe had to develop into something completely different. As always…I negotiated. I ditched the Pickles, but the Mustard I couldn’t live without…so I decided to start using “Ground Mustard” instead of liquid Mustard. Not only was it more flavorful, but it wasn’t as tart, didn’t stain the dish yellow, I could sneak it in without him knowing, so therefore it was a compromise we could both “agree” on.

I’ve found, other than pleasing my husband, the hardest part of Tuna Salad is the Hard-Boiled Egg…I think I’ve tried every “hack,” recipe, etc. on how to cook the perfect Hard-Boiled Egg. Sadly, I cannot remember where I have heard, read, adapted this “recipe”/idea from (this one isn’t mine!) to give them credit, but if you follow these directions, you will have the PERFECT, Easy-to-Peel, Hard Boiled Egg!

I hope you enjoy my Tuna Salad Recipe. If you have any interesting, delicious Tuna add-ins, please comment below!

Ingredients:

4 cans Albacore Tuna in WATER drained (Bumblebee or Starkist are GF) for Pres. Free Recipe, use Organic
4 Eggs Hard-boiled
1/2 cup chopped Celery
1 1/4-1 3/4 cup Mayonaise (depending on your taste-I’m not a Mayo fan) If Sulfite Int, Kraft Light has NO Lemon Juice Concentrate, for Preservative free, use Organic
1 tbsp Lemon Juice (from a Lemon or Organic Concentrate)
1/8 tsp White or Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Mustard (You may use a liquid flavor Mustard of Choice, as well- 2 tbsp)
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 cup chopped Flat Leaf (or Curly if only available) Parsley
3 Large Cloves Garlic
1 Large Basil Leaf
1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan/Asiago/or Cheese-Soy-Nut “Cheese” of Choice
Optional-I like to add 2 tbsp of a vinegar-based dressing (if Sulfite-Intolerant, no Red Wine/Balsamic Vinegar!) My favorite is an Organic GF Ginger Vinaigrette.
Optional- Chives, Shallots, Scallions, or Onions
Directions:
PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGGS
1. Place 4 eggs in water, covering one inch above eggs, into medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil.
2. Once Boiling, continue to boil for 5 MINUTES.
3. Remove from heat, COVER, and set timer for 20 MINUTES.
4. Pour out water (carefully,) and fill pot with ice, and cold water. Let cool for 8 minutes.
5. Peel and chop eggs.
For the Tuna Salad
1. Drain Tuna. Mix chopped Eggs, Tuna, Celery, Parm (or “Cheese of choice,) and Onions (if using them.)
2. In blender/food processor, place Mayo, Dressing (if using,) Mustard, Pepper, Lemon Juice, Paprika, Basil, Parsley, and Garlic.
3. Blend all together.
4. Fold into Tuna mixture. If it is still a little dry, you may add more Mayonnaise, or Dressing to balance it out.
5. Best served with my two favorites: Chebe Foccacia, or O’Dough’s Flatbreads!
IMG_20170813_121904_224
Pictured above with O’Dough’s Flatbread (seasoned with Oregano, Rosemary, Olive Oil, and cut into triangle pieces.)
Featured

Gluten Free Plantain Nachos

Have you ever found that ONE restaurant? That “Hole in the Wall,” “Hidden Gem,” “Mom and Pop,” “Secret Spot,” that you just fell in love with instantly? That’s Patacon Con Todo. Where my husband and I lived in Orlando, there was this small business center a block away from our apartment complex. It had everything I could ever want. There was a 7-11, Nail Salon (amazing, by the way! It is called Debonair Nails Spa-everything from Massage, Waxing, Nails, Pedicures, etc,) Hair Salon, Sub Shop, Thai Restaurant, Sports Bar, Hookah Bar, and my 3rd love…Patacon. I feel an explanation is in order: #1. My husband, #2. Starbucks, and #3. Patacon.

Side note, this is how much I loved Patacon. It is August in Georgia, 10am, and our AC is busted. We live on the top floor, but I loved them so much, I am sitting here with my laptop burning on my lap, STILL writing about them! (I forgot to mention with Kidney Disease, I am unable to sweat, and therefore, at this time have an internal body temperature of 101 degrees, just to put the intensity of this love into perspective #refractoryceliaclife.) Now, back to the best Colombian, Fast-ish, Food Truck, in a Store-Front experience you’d ever get! My husband and I would seriously look at each other and say, “What’s for dinner?” It would always come back to Patacon, and off we’d walk (or drive,) to the pick up the most interesting dish I’ve ever had. It was simple when you think about it. Fried Plantain pieces. Like the step before you smash them into Tostones (for those of you who know Spanish/Puerto Rican/Dominican Cuisine.) Then they would add Onions, Peppers, and Meat. Your protein choices were Pork (that was the only part I didn’t like-it was always chewy, and fatty, not my thing,) Churrasco (Steak,) and Chicken. We of course picked all three! Since the meat and plantains were their only fried foods, they were 100% Gluten Free. Have I mentioned I LOVED this place!? Then one fine day, my husband and I decided to take a walk…and we became hungry…so we decided to stop at our favorite place…where our bellies feel at home…but that home was no more! Our bellies were so upset (in more ways than one, by now we were STARVING!) So I decided to get even, and kicked it up not just a notch, but about 20!

My recipe below, inspired by Patacon is seriously KILLER. Meet my Plantain Nachos. My belly will never be sad again, and neither will yours! If you modify the Cheese and Garlic and Herb Crema, this recipe can be Dairy Free, as well as abide by the Paleo Diet. It truly is and will be, the best and only way you will ever want to eat Nachos (and I’m not just saying that because it’s my recipe!) I would love for you give it a try, and comment below for an unbiased view!

So, in honor, and loving memory of Patacon Con Todo, I give you my Gluten Free/Sulfite Free/MSG Free: Plantain Nachos:

IMG_20170702_212959_901

 

Ingredients:
3 LG Green Plantains (per 2 large servings)
Garlic and Herb Crema:
8 oz Sour Cream
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup Cilantro (pre-chopped)
1/4 cup Parsley (pre-chopped)
Black Beans:
1 can Black Beans (I use low sodium)
1/2 can Water
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup Cilantro (pre-chopped)
1/4 cup Parsley (pre-chopped)
1 packet msg/gluten-free Sazon
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1/4 tsp ground Thyme
1 tsp Adobo
1/4 c diced Yellow Onion
1 lb Ground Beef 80/20
3 tbsp Sofrito
1/2 cup Caramelized Onions
1 Roma Tomato
1-2 Green Onion/Scallion
1 pkg Cotija Cheese

Guacamole:
2 Hass Avocados
2 Large Cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup Cilantro (pre-chopped)
1/16 tsp White Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Paprika
3 tbsp diced Red Onion
1 tsp Lime Juice

Directions:
1. Marinate meat in Sofrito, Seasoning, and Garlic for 2 hours in Refrigerator, covered. Then remove and brown on stove-top on medium heat. Drain grease.
2. While meat is browning, slice Plantain rind/peel vertically and run under running water, then remove peel.
1. Pour Black beans and its juice into medium sauce pan. Fill can half-full with water, and pour into pan as well.
2. Next add all ingredients, except onions, those will be completed in next step. You may also add peppers/jalapenos/chili sauce/Tabasco/etc to add spice. Cook on medium heat until sauce begins to boil, stirring occasionally. Then bring down to simmer, continuing to stir.
20161231_202711
1. Slice Peeled Plantain in 1/4 inch thick medallions, while heating oil in skillet, begin caramelizing the 1/2 cup of onions (for meat,) as well as the 1/4 cup of onions for the beans (3/4 cup total) until opaque and slightly browned. Once finished, add to cooked meat, and stir into beans.
2. Begin to fry plantains in oil 6-8 mins, stirring occasionally until brown freckles appear.
3. Remove from oil, then drain on paper towels.
20161231_204105
1. Spoon sour cream into bowl, chop cilantro, parsley, and mince remaining garlic cloves. Stir into sour cream. (I also add roughly 1/2 tsp Paprika for added flavor and a touch of color. The featured photo has 1 tsp Thai Chili Sauce (GF) mixed in, as well as 1/2 tsp Chipotle Sauce (GF) for a little kick.
1. Cut Avocados and remove pit. Put into bowl and mash with fork. Finely dice Red Onion, mince garlic, wash and chop cilantro, and mash and stir into the avocado mixture. Stir in the dry seasonings.
2. Taste Guacamole, add additional seasonings if necessary (may add chopped jalapeno or chili powder if you prefer some heat.)
six-layer-mojo-dip
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1. Slice, Dice, and Chop your remaining toppings (Tomatoes, Scallions, and Cheese.) I remove the seeds from the tomatoes, so the sogginess is limited.
**Build your Nachos to your liking…Just put your plantains on the bottom, and stack away. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have!
IMG_20170702_212959_891

 

Featured

Sofrito Beef, Stuffed Mofongo

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m married to a WONDERFUL man, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Now, being married to a Latin man has both its blessings and curses, as I’m sure some of you may know (now as an Italian female, I have quite the balance sheet myself!) One of the many blessings, is the cuisine, but let me make something perfectly clear, it doesn’t come from him! My husband adamantly REFUSES to cook. Now it’s not that he can’t cook, he’s actually quite decent. He just HATES it. Luckily on my rough days, he’ll pull out one of my recipes, follow it to a “T,” and take one for the “T”eam. I’ve mentioned he’s wonderful, right? Anyway, since Latin is part of his culture, I have had to broaden my horizons when it comes to the kitchen, since I always believed the goal of every wife was to cook as well as her Mother-in Law. The problem is, I was at a major disadvantage. Luckily, most Spanish food is inherently gluten free. I learned how to make all of his favorites: Aroz con Pollo, Churrasco con Chimichurri, Flan, Tres Leches (you can find my recipe for both my traditional Tres Leches, as well as my DAIRY FREE Tres Leches by clicking HERE,) and my favorite, Mofongo. Now, what is Mofongo, you may ask? It is mashed Plantains with Cilantro, Chicharrones (Pork Rinds, I leave these out due to pre-packages tendency to not being GF/SF/MSG Free,) Olive Oil, Seasonings, and I add Garlic…of course! Now, for those of you who have not been around Plantains…They are NOT the same as green bananas! Do not get confused. Plantains are a totally different variety of starch. If they are green, they taste awful raw, but there are many different ways to eat them Mofongo, Tostones, and Sweet Plantains (ripe/Yellow,) just to name a few. For this recipe we will be focusing on Dark Green Plantains (not ripe,) and making Mofongo. Did you know that Mofongo originated in Africa? Many people believe it came from the Caribbean. In fact it was the African culture that used various starchy vegetables and green/semi-ripe plantains. They were boiled (not fried, which is the common Latin method,) and then mashed, with a soup broth poured over it.

Now, every Spanish/Latin restaurant that he has taken me to (remember, he doesn’t cook,) “Stuffed Mofongo,” is served with the Mofongo like a bowl, and the meat served inside. I had decided by about the 4th time I ordered it, that I wanted to try and take it literal (most of my recipe ideas come from urges/frustrations like these.) I wanted a fully Stuffed Mofongo. So…here it is! I’m not going to lie, it is a challenge to mold. However, I did get it on my first try, so I know you can too! Never give up, never surrender!!

Equipment/Ingredients Needed:

20170801_152906

Ingredients:

Mofongo:

3 LG Green Plantains (per 2 large servings)
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro
3-4 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
!/8 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Adobo
or
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/8 tsp Pepper
Filling:
1 lb Ground Beef 80/20
3 tbsp Sofrito
1/2 cup Caramelized Onions
Directions:
1. Slice Plantain rind/peel vertically and run under running water, then remove peel.
2. Slice Peeled Plantain in 1/2 inch thick medallions, while heating oil in skillet.
20161231_202711
3. Fry in oil until brown freckles appear.
20161231_204105
4. Remove from oil, then drain on paper towels.
5. While the pieces are draining, begin caramelizing the 1/2 cup of onions, until opaque and slightly browned. Once Plantains are drained, place in bowl/mortar, 4-6 pieces at a time and mash, until only 1/3 of pieces are left (this will be your “bottom” of your Mofongo.)
6. Meanwhile, place Cilantro and Garlic into Food Processor/Blender and chop.
7. Place into bowl/mortar with Seasonings, 2/3 Herb mixure, and 2/3 tbsp Olive Oil. Mash/fold into Plantain mixture until a thick,chunky, mashed mixture is achieved.
20170313_184957
…Now the fun begins!!!
1. Find 2 bowls that are the “right size” for what you need. I made one Mofongo for my husband and I, then cut into it for “effect.”
2. Take first “mash” and mold around bowl on the bottom, then sides. I use a fork and rubber spatula for this.
3. Place onions first, then Sofrito Beef mixture.
4. Next mash the rest of your Plantain medallions in your second bowl bottom,with the remaining 1/3 Herb mixture, 1/3 tbsp Olive OIl, and Seasonings, creating a thick pancake shape.
5. This is one of the tricky parts! Take your rubber spatula and slowly work it between your Mofongo and bowl sides.
6. Once your sides are free, then slide the spatula under the Mofongo to free the bottom.
6. Next, take your “Mofongo Pancake” and place onto your original Mofongo “Bowl.” Push down very carefully to attempt a seal.
9. With a deep sigh and a prayer, put your hand over your bottom of your Mofongo to keep it together (as you flip it,) and get ready…1…2..3…FLIP! (Don’t forget to move your hand at the last minute.) Now hold your breath, and pull your mortar/bowl off slowly and careful to lift straight up. (SLOWLY!)
IMG_20170806_224606_613
10. YOU DID IT!!!
Now that the hard part is done…
Broth Ingredients and Directions:
Microwave or Stove Top Boil your favorite broth.
I prefer my favorite, delicious, gluten free, sulfite free, msg free, dairy free, AND vegan broth by Massel Foods. It is truly delicious!
1 cube Boullion
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/16 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Oregano
2 cups Water
Featured

Oven Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Did you know that Chicken, as meat, goes as far back as Babylonian carvings from around 600 BC? It was one of the most common meats available in the Middle Ages (which is probably why it is served at Medieval Times all over the country- which, by the way,  I’ve HEARD can accommodate GLUTEN FREE! Now, don’t quote me on this. I’ve only been told by my followers, through research, and by looking at their ingredients, and possible cross-contamination risks, etc.) Now…back to the History of Chicken…Chicken did not become popular in the United States until WWII, due to the shortage of beef and pork. Here is a list of some main parts of the Chicken that are edible. Now, don’t be scared, because the stranger the part, the fuller the flavor!

The Ones We Know…

Breast: White Meat- Usually Dry
Leg: Two Segments, Drumstick and Thigh- Moist, Dark Meat
Wing: “Bar Food”- Three Segments, Drumette- White Meat, Flat Segment- Two Bones, and Tip- Often Discarded, Cartilage and Bone
The “Strange and Unusual…”
Chicken Feet– Little meat, but edible Skin and Cartilage, Popular in China and the Caribbean
Giblets– Gizzards (Intestines,) Heart and Liver (more about these later,) usually found in a “bag” inside the cavity of the Chicken (once unwrapped from the market)-Delicious on their own or in Gravies/Stews/Etc.
Oysters– located on the back of the Chicken, near the Thigh. Small round pieces of dark meat. Considered a delicacy (personally, my favorite part of the Chicken!)

Now, more about Chicken Hearts and Livers…Firstly, my father use to buy Chicken Livers to use them as bait when he and I would go fishing. That was my only introduction and experience with them. They were raw, and not very appealing…and then my husband and I went to Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s demonstration and Red Rooster Cookbook signing. marcus aloneAs a Celiac, and multiple preservative intolerant, when he was taking questions, I asked him if any of his samples would be/are gluten free. Now I’m used to not getting to sample anything, so I was expecting the typical “no,” and handing the delicious smelling sample in my hand to my husband. To my surprise, Chef Samuelsson stopped what he was doing, and said he was going to make me something special…I was shocked! How many people get to have a Food Network, James Beard Award Winning Chef cook a personal meal just for them?! I explained I had Celiac Disease, and he said how rough that was for preparing food (tell me about it!) all while in front of the 50+ other people there watching the demonstration. I was so impressed and grateful, that instead of saying “I’m sorry, I can’t guarantee anything for you, as he continued his demonstration and story, and he made me my own personal, Chef Marcus-Made meal made with Chicken Livers, Hearts, and Lemon Juice. marcus mealIt was DELICIOUS! That was the first time I’d ever eat them both, and honestly had he not made them for me, never would’ve otherwise. Needless to say, I bought his amazing Red Rooster Cookbook. You must check it out! It is full of amazing Ethiopian Recipes. As I’m sure you can all tell from my recipe posts, I love all cuisines, and enjoy an eclectic array of foods. As Celiacs, switching up our menus gives us a sense of normalcy, that we don’t get otherwise.  Be sure you check out Red Rooster Cookbook and Chef Marcus! I would love to thank him personally for being so thoughtful, kind, and generous to personally address me, and cooking me something so I could actually enjoy his food. It happens so often that we go to a demonstration or festival and have to watched others enjoy the goodness, and go off of our loved one’s experience and description. Let’s just face it- it’s not as good as the real thing! Chef Marcus really gave this “Gluten Free Wife” a memorable experience, so a huge THANK YOU for being so wonderful and accommodating.marcus best P.S. If any of you live in the NY, NY/Harlem area, his Red Rooster Restaurant is located there, so you may be able to enjoy the real thing! If you happen to purchase his Red Rooster Cookbook, email me (theglutenfreewife@gmail.com) the recipe you’d like converted to gluten free, and I’ll be happy to convert it for you!

Now back to the Chicken! Here are the “Health Benefits” of Chicken:

Did you know that Chicken offers one of the highest amounts of protein in our diets? It also has the ability to control cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of cancer.
One serving offers:
Protein 18g
Calcium 11mg
Magnesium 20mg
Phosphorus 147mg
Potassium 189mg
…and it also contains Vitamins C, B-6, B-12, A, E, D, K, Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin
Studies have shown that a higher consumption of red meat and pork increased the risk of Colorectal Cancer; however, “in chicken and fish eaters, the risk of developing Colorectal Cancer in life was reduced, although the evidence is not conclusive.”
So here is my favorite Oven Roasted Chicken Recipe that I’ve created (I’ve gone through quite a few over the years to get to this one.) In the past, I would cover it in my Sofrito Recipe; however, it wouldn’t crisp up due to the moisture in the Sofrito.) So by trial and error, I have finally created a recipe that creates a moist, flavorful chicken, with a crispy skin. I hope you enjoy!20161020_182215

For this recipe, you will be working with a 4-5 lb Whole “Fryer” Chicken, which will comfortably feed a family of 4. I always check Kroger or Sprouts ads for when they’re on sale. About once a month/every other, you’ll find Perdue or Store Brand for around $0.75-$0.80/lb! That gets you a 5.5lb Chicken for about $4.50. If you figure a pre-cooked Publix or Walmart Chicken for $5-$7, you’re only getting a 3lb Chicken for $2-$3 more. I promise it’s worth the time to cook it yourself- to not risk the cross-contamination!

Equipment Needed: Kitchen Twine, Roasting Pan, Meat Thermometer

Ingredients:
(For the Inside of the Chicken and Potatoes:)
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Small-Medium Sweet Onion
1 Large or 2 Small Stalks Celery (depending on length)
3 Large Cloves Garlic Whole

1 Stick Dairy/Lactose Free “Butter”

(For Herb Rub on Chicken)
1 cup Fresh (flat leaf) Italian Parsley
1 cup Fresh Cilantro
4 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Adobo
1 tsp Ground Mustard (seasoning)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

(For Potato Side Dish)
4-5 Medium Idaho/Russet Potatoes
Ground Mustard (seasoning)
Pepper
Salt
Garlic Powder

 

Directions:
1. Remove Chicken from Packaging, remove Giblets and discard (unless you want to save for a gravy/stew/etc.,) Rinse thoroughly, and Pat Dry with paper towels.
2. Place in Roasting Pan (I buy disposable roasting pans, only $1.99-$3, and often BOGO.) Slice “Butter” into thin “PADS” or Squares.
3. Take a butter knife and lightly insert on RIGHT SIDE above neck (careful not to break skin,) under skin, to separate skin from body all along BREAST and WING. Repeat on LEFT SIDE. and LEG. Repeat on LEFT SIDE.                                                                                    4. Next, insert knife above Cavity, on RIGHT SIDE and work knife into THIGH and LEG. Repeat on LEFT SIDE.
5. Turn Chicken over and REPEAT process on BACK SIDE of Chicken.chicken raw butter
6. Then go back and insert “PADS” or Squares of “Butter” into the Area you have just made. What this process does is #1. Make for a Moist Chicken. #2. Make for a Crispy skin.
7. Chop your Pepper, Onions, and Celery. Split all 3 into equal portions. Take 1/2 and stuff into the Cavity of the Chicken with the 3 (Cleaned) Whole Cloves of Garlic. Set aside the Remaining half of Chopped ingredients for side dish later.
8. Take all ingredients for Herb Rub and place in Blender or Food Processor (you may also elect to manually chop, and then mix all together in a bowl.
9. Take a Basting Brush or Spoon and Brush/Spoon ingredients onto Chicken, making sure to get every crevice, Wings, Legs, Underside, etc.20170717_131125
10. Take Kitchen twine, and TIE Wings together, TIE Legs together, and then take those ties and TIE them together. This will make sure that they stay tied tightly as the Chicken begins to cook. (Then re-spread the herb seasoning that moves after tying twine.)           11. Golden rule is 20 mins/lb; however, it may take up to 45 minutes per pound for a stuffed chicken. Be sure to check the internal temperature to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Temperature should read: 165 degrees **Make sure you baste with its own juices every 30-45 minutes!!! It may take the first hour before you have juices to baste it with.
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12. IN THE LAST HOUR OF COOKING TIME Peel 4-5 Medium White Russet/Idaho Potatoes, then cut into quarters (4’s.)
13. Season with Salt, Pepper, Ground Mustard, and Garlic Powder on all sides, mix with remaining chopped Peppers, Onions, and Garlic. 20170717_155427
14. Remove Chicken, and place potatoes into Roasting Pan. Increase oven to 400 degrees. Let Chicken REST for 30 minutes while Potatoes Roast in its juices, 15 mins at 400 degrees, flip, reduce back to 350 for last 15 minutes, then enjoy!

**If Chicken needs a little more love, but is already browning, you may cover with aluminum foil (seen above,) while cooking the potatoes, and keep it in with them at 400 degrees, while continuing to check it with your meat thermometer. Keep a close eye on it though, it can dry out quickly!20160312_200001

**If you choose to stuff your chicken with whole vegetables, and use a liquid marinade (My Sofrito Recipe and Mojo Marinade are good examples,) then this will be more than likely be your outcome, than the top of the page. You will get a softer, less crispy skin; however, you will still have an extremely flavorful and moist chicken (seen here is my Mojo Marinade, which explains the hint of green!)

Featured

Gluten Free Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry

shrimp stir fry
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As I’m sure all you Gluten Free Eaters know, yummy Gluten Free Asian food is a HARD find! Over the last two years, my cravings have only grown. I’ve even had to take up Sushi Rolling (did you know the vinegar most restaurants/stores use for their “sticky rice” is made with WHEAT?) I couldn’t figure out why every time I ate Chinese food or Sushi, I kept having a reaction! #1. Gluten/Wheat is in the Vinegar/Oyster Sauce/Fish Sauce, and of course we know Soy Sauce! #2. MSG! Not only does it make those non-intolerant and non-Celiacs hungry in an hour or two, but Monosodium Glutamate also causes a reaction in those with an extreme, super sensitive gluten sensitivity. MSG is not just common in Asian food, but in nearly everything we enjoy! It can be found in snack foods, dressings, seasonings, etc. If you find yourself ordering/buying/cooking “Gluten Free” and still getting sick, it may not be a cross-contamination issue. Check your labels and ask your restaurants. A MSG reaction for me, is a much milder gluten reaction, but it may be different for everyone. I have the same digestive issues, inflammatory response, rash, and headache as gluten; however, it only lasts 24 hours as opposed to 3 days. If you are concerned with MSG, you may take one of my restaurant cards with you to prevent this ingredient (and others) from getting into your food. You can download one here, and simply fill in your allergies/foods you cannot eat. Hand it to your server, and they will pass it onto the kitchen. This is in hopes to prevent and educate more chefs on our condition/disease (Intolerants/Celiacs.) You can find these cards in both Spanish and English. I apologize, for getting off topic…back to MSG…

Common products containing MSG include:

Doritos
Other Chips (some Lays)
Campbells Soups
Frozen Dinners
Seasoning Blends (Not Mine :-)!)
Cold Cuts
Gravies
Ranch Dressing (Most Restaurants)
Salty Snacks
Johnsonville Sausages
And MANY MORE!
Other possible ways MSG may be listed:
Hydrolyzed Protein
Autolyzed Yeast
Glutamic Acid
Yeast Extract

 

****Many Fast Food Restaurants use MSG on their Fried Chicken Sandwiches (not that we can eat them,) Hamburgers, and French Fry Seasonings.

Because of how common both gluten and MSG is in all foods, but especially Asian cuisine, I have been working on a recipe as close to the “real thing,” and as delicious as that take out we all use to enjoy (before this infliction presented itself.) So here it is. Feel free to play around with the sauce ratios until your favorite salty to sweet taste is met. Also, always remember to taste as you go! Every brand of Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Sweet Chili, and Ginger Dressing is different, so your measurements may need “tweaking.” Also, you can purchase all the ingredients at Whole Foods (more expensive,) or my favorites, and for the best price, at Sprouts, Kroger, Ingles, and if my overseas readers could please post where they shop for their Asian sauces, I’d be so grateful! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I have.

Ingredients:
Sauce:
1 tbsp Ginger Salad Dressing
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
Shrimp: 
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 package Noodles (Thai Rice Noodles)
1 Package frozen Broccoli  (or fresh)
1-2 Chives or Green Onions
chicken and broccoli stir fry
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Directions:
1. Pour all sauce ingredients and simmer on low, stirring frequently. (Taste to be sure you have the taste you’re looking for. Every brand of Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Sweet Chili, and Ginger Dressing is different, so your measurements may need “tweaking.”)
2. Boil water for noodles. When boiling, add noodles, remove from heat and cook 8-9 mins stirring occasionally.
3. Once noodles in, Season each side of Shrimp, and Cook 2-4 mins on each side in skillet. When Shrimp have 1 min left, add 1/4 sauce and stir into skillet/Shrimp.
4. Cook/Microwave Broccoli (I put into bowl with 1 tbsp water, 2 tbsp GF soy sauce, and additional 1/8 tsp ginger.)
5. Optional, after Shrimp, cook egg to desired doneness. If over easy, break membrane (clear liquid around yolk, without breaking yolk.)
6. Place noodles in Wok (or Pot/Skillet,) add remaining sauce, Broccoli, Chives/Green onions. Top with Shrimp and Egg.
7. Enjoy!

 

chicken stir fry
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Featured

Gluten Free, Stuffed Green Bell Peppers and Green Tomatoes

I have hereditary Celiac Disease. There are many different genes for Celiac Disease, but the gene I have inherited is called Refractory Celiac Disease. Sadly, this means that diet alone doesn’t control my Disease. I inherited the Celiac gene from my grandmother. She was one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known. She was diagnosed in the 70’s, when there weren’t special aisles in grocery stores; she had to special order her gluten free bread; she didn’t have the luxury of FDA rules and regulations we have now protecting us and our bodies. Because of these reasons, along with the type of gene we both share, she ended up suffering from inoperable esophageal cancer, and passed away in June of 1996. I can’t stress enough, the importance of following our diet to reduce reflux, inflammation, and the damage of our autoimmune response (even if you’re suffering from the Refractory gene as I am, it is still of the utmost importance to continue the diet as directed to reduce the damage as much as possible.) Now, how do you know if you have Refractory Celiac Disease vs. the more common Celiac gene? If after 9-12 months of a gluten free diet, with no gluten (0 ppm) intake, your Alkaline Phosphatase levels still haven’t normalized (AP is a liver function test, in which normal levels are 42-98IU for a 20-50yr old woman; however, mine normally sits around 26-30IU at 34 years old.) Another symptom to consider is if your chancre sores haven’t disappeared, even after eliminating Sulfites and Sulfates from your Toothpaste (a common intolerance for Celiacs.) Is your tooth enamel still softening? Do you still suffer from regular headaches/migraines (1-4 per week?) Joint pain? Do you still have rashes on your skin or scalp that won’t go away, even after changing to non-irritant skin and hair care products? If you have COMPLETELY eliminated gluten, no cross-contamination has happened, and no accidents for at least 9-12 months, and still have all or most of these problems plus Vitamin deficiencies and Anemia, you may suffer from Refractory Celiac Disease. Speak with your Rheumatologist, Endocrinologist, or GI specialist (only if GI is a Celiac Specialist.) Many GI physicians do not know enough about Celiac Disease to help with the intolerances that follow, etc. It is always best to find someone who has studied this disease, its complications, and knows its different complications. My old GI in Orlando, bless his soul, was unaware that if you are on a gluten free diet, you’ll get a negative result on your endoscopy. I was gluten free for 5 months when he performed the endoscopy, still ended up with duodenitis, plus all the above symptoms and lab results I listed for Refractory Celiac Disease, and a positive genetics test…2 months later, I had lost 30lbs (from 145 to 115,) couldn’t hold down my food, and thought I was actually dying. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Thank goodness I had a physician at the hospital who looked over everything, and officially gave me my diagnosis. Moral of this story? Never lose hope!

Now, back to my favorite Celiac… My grandmother always made me delicious, well-balanced meals. One of my favorites, her Stuffed Green Peppers! Did you know even Cooked Green Bell Peppers are packed full of nutrients?

1 Bell Pepper Cooked=

Vitamin C: 197%
Vitamin K    18%
Vitamin B6   15%
Iron              4%

Also, they are packed full of Amino Acids, a very good source of Fiber, and Antioxidants! Sadly, my mother is holding my grandmother’s cookbook hostage in Arizona, so I had to wing-it last night! But from what I remember it was as close to the real thing as possible. So here is yet another tasty recipe of mine (that is good for you too!) Now the protein that I chose is Ground Beef. It is cheap, and very easy to manipulate flavor into; however, feel free to experiment! You can use Lamb, Italian Sausage, Ground Pork, Ground Turkey (though this is a bland protein, so be sure to over season,) and Soy Crumbles/Tofu, etc. Whichever you choose, please comment below to let us know how it turns out? I always like to hear and learn different variations of my recipes. For instance, the Green Tomatoes were created because my husband DESPISES peppers. Hey, at least he’s a Gluten Free, Celiac supporter…we can’t have everything, right? So I decided to stuff the Tomatoes for him in place of the peppers. I tried them, and they were yummy! I’m partial to the peppers myself, though. I think they add more flavor, but to each his own :-). I hope you found this information helpful, and enjoy my recipe. Have a wonderful week!

Ingredients:

Ground Beef:
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (80% lean)
3 tbsp. Sofrito
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp dried Parsley
1/2 tsp Chili Powder (optional)
Rice:
1 cube Massel Vegetable Bullion
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Sage
3/4 cup Long Grain Rice (Rinsed)
1 1/4 cup Water
6 Green Bell Peppers 
And/Or
6 Green Tomatoes
Gluten free Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
3 Large Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 Yellow Onion
Equipment:
9×13 Baking Dish, Aluminum Foil, 16 qt Steam Pot (optional)
Directions:
1. Marinate meat with Sofrito and #1 Seasoning Blend.
1. Cut tops off Tomatoes and/or Peppers. Remove insides, seeds, “guts.”
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2. Fill steamer pot with steamer attachment and 2 inches of water (or boil in large pot.) On Low/Simmer, Steam Peppers (only) for 30-40 mins until pliable.
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3. Add Seasonings and Water to Rice Cooker and stir in Rice (or cook in pot, add 2 tbsp Olive oil to pot with rice, cook 2 mins, then add water, cover, cook 20-25 mins.)
4. Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 350°. Chop Onion and Mince Garlic. Simmer in pan until opaque and slightly browned, then add in Meat.
5. Brown Meat, then drain grease, taste, season further if necessary.
6. Remove Peppers from Steam Pot (CAUTION, will be EXTREMELY hot!) And drain upside down to remove excess water.
7. Stir in Cooked Rice, Browned Meat, 2 tbsp Gluten Free Worcestershire (optional,) and spoon into Tomatoes and/or Green Bell Peppers.
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8. Place in 9×13 baking pan filled 1/2 inch with water (to steam during baking.) If you are only making a few, as seen in the photo, use a ramekin filled 1/2 way with water to hold them in position.
9. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes, then remove foil, and bake for 10 additional minutes.
10. ENJOY!!
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Stuffed Green Tomatoes pictured above with Homemade, Baked, Gluten Free, Macaroni and Cheese
Featured

A Celiac Must-Have for Eating Out

As “Celiac Awareness Month” comes to an end, I’ve decided to share with you my way of making others aware of our disease. We all know going out to eat can be a challenge. Whether it be at a restaurant or at a friend’s house, allowing others to cook for us is literally putting our health in their hands. I know when I’ve tried to explain the severity of my disease to my family and friends when they’ve offered to cook for me (this is after I’ve begged to cook for them,) they look at me several ways, #1. Like I’m crazy. I don’t choose this. My brother-in-law is a classically trained chef, and even he isn’t aware that certain products contain wheat. My husband and I went to a demonstration and cookbook signing by a Food Network chef. When I asked if any of his samples were gluten free, and explained I had Celiac Disease, he stated Celiac Disease was really rough (I was thankful he was aware of the disease,) and in front of the entire audience offered to make me something “safe.” I was honored he was making ME something special, but even he had to ask about EVERY ingredient he put in and whether it was “Celiac Safe.” So the answer to #1 is no, I’m not crazy, you may think you know what gluten free and cross contaminated is, but I rather be safe than sorry (when it is my next 72 hours in bed, with a 102 degree fever, nausea, vomiting, intestinal distress, etc.) If you felt the effects of Celiac Disease, you’d be extra protective of your body too! #2. Have you ever been to a restaurant (usually a family owned, or located in a smaller town,) when you communicate your allergy/disease to your server and they A. Pretend to know what it is, yet still bring bread on your plate/croutons on your salad, or B. Tilt their head to the side and a glaze comes over their eyes? I believe I have come up with a method to help limit, not only our cross contamination or gluten risk at restaurants and family and friends’ homes, but also help educate them for those who come after us. I realized I was communicating everything to my server “I have an extreme reaction/allergy to wheat and gluten (such as bread products,) due to an autoimmune disease. Because of this, my food needs to be prepared separately, with clean hands/gloves, surfaces, and utensils.” The question was, though I was communicating this to my server, were they communicating it to the kitchen? But that wasn’t my only concern. I don’t know about you, but every business dinner, work meal I attend with my husband, or first time eating with new friends, I’m almost embarrassed. I feel like I nearly harass our server, forcing them to take multiple trips to the kitchen (delaying our dinner, drinks, etc.) Again, we understand the need for special precautions; however, those we share a meal with aren’t always as understanding. I feel like I spend more time apologizing to servers, friends, and coworkers than I do enjoying my meal. This is why I’ve created the Celiac Card. This card doesn’t guarantee a complete gluten free experience; however, it is meant to reduce the risk of cross contamination by educating your server, chef, friends, etc.

Celiac Restaurant Card Spanish

Celiac Restaurant Card Spanish

Celiac Restaurant Card Spanish

Celiac Restaurant Card English

Celiac Restaurant Card English

Celiac Restaurant Card English with Table

My card:

The Gluten Free Wife Restaurant Card

The Gluten Free Wife Celiac Card Sample

Directions:

  1. Copy and paste images on a text or word document, or print the photos (or download the word/pdf document I have provided.)
  2. Use the Blank Table for yourself, referencing my table to fill in your “Can’t Eats.”
  3. Insert a Text Box into each table square with each ingredient you cannot have (gluten ingredients are in BOLD.) If you print the photo directly, you may handwrite your “Can’t Eats.”
  4. Print card, fold or paste sides together. Laminate or use clear tape to seal. (This card will pass through many hands.)
  5. At every restaurant, hand it to the server (when they take your drink order,) and ask them to take it to the kitchen and find out which dishes would be safe for you to consume based on your “Can’t Eat” ingredients.

**Disclaimer, not meant to prevent cross contamination and gluten ingestion 100%.

I’m no longer as worried the message isn’t getting to the kitchen, that I’m consuming unlisted (from the menu) hidden ingredients, that the location is uneducated on Celiac Disease vs. the gluten free diet, and that I’m embarrassing the non-family members that I’m dining with.

If you speak (and write) another language, other than Spanish, and would like to translate the paragraph for me to post for others, please email it to me at: theglutenfreewife@gmail.com and I will be sure to post it! I know many of you overseas travel, and it would be helpful to have it in as many languages as possible. I hope this helps all of you as much as it has helped me!

Featured

Atlantic Salmon en Papillote

Salmon is my absolute favorite fish! When I was a child, my mother and I took a trip to Seattle, Washington. That’s when I tasted my first Alaskan King Sockeye Salmon, and it was delicious! We all know there are many different types of Salmon, but did you know they also have many different health benefits?

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The human body cannot make this nutrient on its own, so you have to receive them by either the foods you eat, or by taking a supplement. This nutrient promotes healthy joints, skin, reduces the risk of heart disease, and aids in the neurological development in unborn children (so it is essential in a prenatal diet.) “The American Heart Association recommends adults have 2 servings of Omega 3 per week to maintain optimal health benefits.” Omega 3 also improves heart function and reduces the risk of deadly heart arrhythmias.

Protein: As I’ve discussed in previous recipes, Celiacs tend to have some form of Anemia, and therefore require a high protein diet. Salmon contains up to 58% of the daily intake of protein in just one 4oz serving! It also contains amino acids that promote growth and helps maintain muscle mass. It helps maintain metabolism and promote weight loss, and if you eat it three or more times per week, it will help you feel fuller longer. Who knew Salmon could be an excellent weight loss tool, and aid in prevention of weight gain as well?

Vitamins: (in one 3oz baked filet %DV)
Vitamin B-12  40%
Niacin              30%
B-6                    25%
Vitamin D       49%
Thiamin          10%
***A huge thank you to www.livestrong.com for all of the above extremely helpful information, as I was researching the health benefits of Salmon!***
Now, there are many ways to cook Salmon: baked, broiled, seared, or grilled. Today, we will baking our Salmon en Papillote (French word for “in Parchment.”) Simply put, a method of cooking, in which the food is put into a folded pouch of parcel and then baked. This method holds in moisture to steam the Salmon. It insures it is SUPER moist (which when cooking fish, drying it out and overcooking is a common occurrence.) If you’re serving this dish at a dinner party, to a client, etc., open at tableside so they may enjoy the aroma as it pours from the pouch…it truly is magical! You can also use this method on Vegetables, Lamb, Poultry, and other types of fish. So grab your Parchment Paper, and let’s get to baking, and enjoy the tasty life with the Gluten Free Wife!
Ingredients:
1-1.5lb FRESH Salmon Filet (skin on)
3 slices Lemon
4 Fresh Basil Leaves (chopped)
1 tbsp Fresh Parsley (chopped)
Salt
Pepper
1/4 tsp dried Thyme
1/4 tsp dried Sage
1/8 tsp dried Oregano
1 tbsp Butter (I use Earth Balance)
Egg wash all around the parchment paper
2 tbsp Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing (I use Garlic Expressions)
A little ab20170522_121642out Garlic Expressions…This Dressing/Marinade is WONDERFUL!!! I use it on my Kale Salads, as a Marinade, to baste for Garlic Bread, etc. It is 100% gluten free, preservative free, dairy free, and DELICIOUS!!! You can find it at Kroger in the produce section (near the minced garlic shelf,) and if you do not have Kroger, not to worry, you can purchase directly from their website at: www.garlic-expressions.com. Coming from an Italian family, this dressing reminds me of my Grandmother’s! As soon as I tried it, it took me back to my childhood. Finally a delicious marinade/dressing that a Sulfite-intolerant, Celiac can enjoy. Give it a try, and I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Directions:
1. Preheat to 400°. Cover Baking Sheet with Aluminum Foil.
2. Place Salmon Skin side down over Parchment Paper, pat dry, season both sides with Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano.
3. Place sliced Lemon on top, sprinkle with chopped Basil and Parsley.
20170521_161710
4. Top Lemon with pads of Butter (sliced butter.) If Dairy/Lactose Free, use Earth Balance or Lactose-Free “Butter.”
5. Pour Garlic Expressions over fish.
6. Brush Egg Wash (1 Egg whisked) along edges of parchment paper.
7. Fold parchment paper in half over fish (skin side down) and push to seal all edges.
20170521_162313
8. Seal by:
Fold corner near inside seam in toward fish.
Then next to corner, fold toward first corner.
Then fold bottom towards fish.
Continue folding each corner into fish all along sealed edges.
Tuck last corner under (while other folds were folded on top.) *See photo above
9. Cook 10 minutes for medium rare, 15 minutes for a more medium doneness.

IMG_20170521_172200_776

**Serves well with a rice side dish (photo is served with Risotto Florentine) or fresh vegetables**

Featured

Gluten Free Black Bean and Beef Tostada

Black Beans offer many beneficial nutrients. They are a great source of cholesterol-lowering Fiber, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Protein. They are also a good source of Zinc and Folate, which are two very common deficiencies found in Celiac Disease (see my blog post Benificial Breakfast Banana for more information on this subject.) Here is a breakdown of the nutritional value of Black Beans and the rest of the ingredients found in this recipe. Whether you are dieting, intolerant, or Gluten-free by necessity, there is no need to cut out all tasty foods from your diet. You can still enjoy them in moderation!

Black Beans:
Calories: 45
Folate:     5%
Fiber:      12%
Copper:    4%
Protein:    3%
Iron:         2%
Fiber and Protein are extremely important in our diet. They help regulate the passage of food through our digestive tract and steady the flow of digestion. This can help regulate blood sugar and overall digestive tract health. So let’s breakdown the other ingredients:
Black Beans (Serving size 1/5 cup for 2 Tostadas:):
Calories: 45
Folate:     5%
Fiber:      12%
Copper:    4%
Protein:    3%
Iron:         2%
Ground Beef 80/20% (Serving size 2oz for 2 Tostadas:):
Calories: 145
Protein:  20%
Iron:         5%
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Serving size 1/8cup for 2 Tostadas:)
Calories:  50
Protein:    6%
Calcium:  10%
Sliced Hass Avocado (Serving size 1/2 Avocado for 2 Tostadas:)
Calories:    120
Fiber:         27%
Vitamin C:34%
Iron:            6%
Protein:       8%
Potassium:20%
Folate:         5%
Fat Free Sour Cream (Serving size 2 tbsp.)
Calories: 30
Tostada Shells (Serving size 2)
Calories: 150
Protein:    20%
Iron:          4%
Fiber:        8%
Total:
Calories:    540
Folate:       10%
Fiber:         27%
Protein:      57%
Iron:           17%
Potassium: 20%
(Among other Vitamin and Nutrients listed above.)
So, not only does this dish look, and taste delicious, but it is only about 540 calories for 2 stacked Tostadas! I can only eat 1, so 220 calories fills me up. Moral of the story? Gluten Free Mexican can be HEALTHY, DELICIOUS, and REWARDING! If you’re dieting, there is no need to cut out all of the tasty ingredients out of your diet. Keep the delicious foods in your life, just know what you’re putting into your body, and always in moderation. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Ingredients:
Ground Beef:
3 tbsp Sofrito
1 1/2 lbs 80% Ground Beef
2 Large Cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Chopped Sweet Onion
Black Beans:
1 can Black Beans-Drained (I use low sodium)
3cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup Cilantro
1/4 cup Parsley
1 tbsp. Seasoning Blend
3 tbsp. Sofrito
1/4 c diced Yellow Onion
1 tsp Chili Powder
Sour Cream:
1 cup Fat Free Sour Cream (I prefer Breakstone)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/4 cup Cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup Parsley (chopped)
1/4 tsp Paprika
1 Hass Avocado
Lime Juice (Real or Organic)
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Cheese of Choice
Sliced Scallions
Tostada Shells (Corn, Gluten Free)
Directions:
  1. Massage Sofrito and Seasoning Blend into Ground Beef. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  2. Saute Onions and Garlic until opaque and fragrant.
  3. Add meat and brown. Drain grease.
  4. Place Black Beans and all their ingredients in food processor or blender (if you do not have either, simply pulverize with meat tenderizer, chop ingredients separately, and add all together.)IMG_20170321_194017_355.jpg
  5. Microwave Black Bean mixture for 2-3 minutes or until hot, stirring halfway through.
  6. Chop Sour Cream Herbs and Mince Garlic. Whisk Paprika, and other herb ingredients with fork into Sour Cream.
  7. Slice Scallions.
  8. Slice Avocados. Squirt with Lime juice, and salt and pepper.
  9. Shred Cheese.
  10. Build Tostada: Shell, Beans, Cheese, Meat, Sour Cream, Avocados, Scallions.
  11. Enjoy!

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Featured

Cinco de Mayo Queso Blanco con Carne

Cinco de Mayo, or the 5th of May, is a holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. It is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico; however, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican heritage. In the Battle of Puebla, Benito Juarez, the elected president of Mexico, gathered 2,000 men and sent them to Puebla to face off against 6,000 French troops (led by General Charles Latrille de Lorencez.) Though greatly outnumbered, the Mexican troops, led by Ignacio Zaragoza, prepared for a battle that began at daybreak. This battle lasted the day and into the early evening. Eventually the French retreated, after losing nearly 500 soldiers, although the Mexican troops lost less than 100. Though not classified as a major win, this battle on May 5th represented a great symbolic victory for Benito Juarez and the Mexican Government. With support from its Northern neighbor, the United States (after the Civil War,) France finally withdrew in 1867.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mainly observed in Puebla. Their traditions include military parades, battle recreations, and other festivities; however, it is not celebrated as a federal holiday. Here in the United States, it is interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Many celebrate through parades, music, traditional foods, dancing, festivals in U.S. cities (such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston,) and many local bars run specials on their Mexican beers and cuisine (try and find a bar NOT running a Corona special on May 5th!)

As a Celiac, we commonly cannot eat Queso, due to it containing a “Rue” (a flour mixture used to thicken liquids,) that restaurants use in their dips, soups, and sauces. It took me some time, but I have found a tasty, Gluten-free, Sulfite-free, and MSG-free pre-prepared product from On the Border. With my recipe, you can no longer taste the processed flavor commonly found in pre-prepared dips and sauces. It tastes just like homemade, in half the time! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and I have. We use to have it every Friday. We called it our Dip, Date Day <3. Enjoy your Dip Days and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients:

Beef:

3 tbsp Sofrito
1 1/2 lbs 80% Ground Beef
2 Large Cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Chopped Sweet Onion
Queso:
1 Jar On the Border Monterey Jack Queso
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Shredded Cheese of Choice
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Directions:
  1. Massage Sofrito and Seasoning Blend into Ground Beef. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  2. Saute Onions and Garlic until opaque and fragrant.
  3. Add meat and brown. Drain grease.
  4. Meanwhile empty jar into pot and warm.
  5. Add chopped Herbs.
  6. Once brought up to temp, add browned meat and shredded cheese. Heat until melted.
  7. Pour over corn chips, and top with your favorite toppings.
  8. Enjoy!

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Featured

Gluten-Free Ricotta Stuffed Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a staple in nearly every American household, but did you know it has European origins? It was mentioned in as early as the 5th century in the famous Roman cookery collection Apicus. Made of minced meat, it is a traditional German, Scandinavian, and Belgian dish, and a cousin to the Dutch meatball. It can be made with ground beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison, poultry, or seafood. But did you know that American meatloaf was originally Gluten-free? Its origins came from a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since as far back as the Colonial times. You can get as creative as you want with it! Some cultures add vegetables, wrap it in ham or bacon, many stuff their meatloaf with hardboiled eggs, and sometimes they stuff them with cheeses (which is what we’ll be doing today.) Meatloaf can commonly go two ways: Delicious, or Dry. I prefer the first, of course, so I make my meatloaf like the Dutch: as a giant Meatball (except Italian-style!) So grab your Parchment Paper, 9x13in Baking Dish, and let’s stuff us a DELICIOUS Meatloaf!

Ingredients:

Meatball Mixture:
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (80% lean)
3 tbsp. Sofrito
4 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp dried Parsley
2/3 cup Breadcrumbs (gluten-free Italian, 4C is a good brand)
2/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Eggs
Ketchup (to top before baking- I use Organic)
1/2 tsp Chili Powder (optional)
Ricotta Mixture:
1 (15 oz) tub of Ricotta (Galbani brand is gluten-free and sulfite-free)
¼ c Grated Parmesan
1 tsp Paprika
1/3 c fresh Parsley
1 tsp dried Oregano
2 cloves minced Garlic
1 tbsp milk (I use 2 % Lactaid to reduce Lactose as much as possible)
1 tsp chopped Shallot (optional)
Directions:
1. Mix Ground Beef in Sofrito, Onions, Garlic, Basil and Parsley with hands, until just incorporated. Cover, and place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours to marinate.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Add remaining ingredients to ground beef, and mix with hands until incorporated.
4. Flatten out into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle, roughly 7x10inches.
Ricotta Mixture
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5. Mix Ricotta ingredients together thoroughly (I use a food processor, add all ingredients, and puree.)
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6. Place Ricotta mixture into center of meat rectangle, using the parchment paper, fold the meat rectangle over the Ricotta mixture, forming a “Log.” Seal the Seams of the “Log.”
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7. Spray the 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place Log SEAM-SIDE DOWN. Cover top with thin layer of Ketchup. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until cooked thoroughly and no pink remains.
8. Let rest 10 minutes. ENJOY!
Featured

Gluten-free/Dairy-free Peanut Butter Truffles

truffles2
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There are many foods we “intolerants,” those suffering from food allergies, autoimmune diseases, etc., have to give up enjoying: certain donuts, chocolates, cupcakes, candies, and the list goes on. I want to find and create as many of these recipes, and to ensure they taste as delicious (if not better) as “the real thing.” We need to stop missing out on the tasty things in life! I remember after my diagnosis, It had been two years since I had enjoyed a donut. The first time I made my Gluten-free Beignets (this recipe will post at a later date)…I cried…crocodile tears! I thought my husband was going to laugh himself silly. He couldn’t understand why I was crying- well let’s take his PlayStation away for 2 years, and watch those crocodile tears fly off his face! I know some of you can understand my passion for the food that I have missed these past few years. That is one of my goals with this blog. I want to bring my love of good, real, and delicious gluten-free food, that is FULL of taste into your homes and hearts, so you don’t have to suffer the crocodile tears and laughter at your expense. You do not have to have a longing for what is forbidden any longer.

One of the recipes that I am sharing with you today is for a creamy, salty, and surprisingly not overly sweet Peanut Butter Truffle. It is 100% Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, MSG-free, sulfite/sulfate-free, and DELICIOUS! So grab your stand mixer, baking sheet, measuring cup, and parchment paper. Let’s roll some Truffles!!
Ingredients:
5 tbsp Dairy-Free Butter (I use Earth Balance)
2 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup Honey Roasted Smooth Peanut Butter (I use Skippy or Peter Pan)
1/2 tsp Vanilla (Pure Vanilla, I use Madagascar Bourbon)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
Dairy-Free Chocolate Covering
1 cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life or any Gluten-free/Soy Based Chocolate)
1 tsp Honey
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
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Directions:
1. Mix Peanut Butter and Powdered Sugar in mixing bowl on low speed until blended well.
2. Add Vanilla, Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Blend on low speed until fully blended.
3. Roll into 1/4-1/2 inch balls. Cover, and set in refrigerator to cool for 30 mins.
4. Melt chocolate 2 ways: Microwave, 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, until fully melted.
Or, Melt on stovetop on double broiler. Boil water in pot, melting chocolate above boiling water in separate bowl until melted.
5. Add Cinnamon and Honey and stir well.
6. Roll balls into chocolate until fully covered, place on parchment paper.
7. ****Decorate as desired (see ideas below.)
8. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to 5-7 days.
***Decorate with gluten-free Graham Cracker Crust crumbles, Nuts, Icing, Sprinkles, etc.
Featured

Gluten-Free Creole Cajun Au Gratin

My husband is what I call a “Celiac Supporter.” Our house is 100% gluten-free. Due to my intense cross-contamination complications, we even ask our guests to leave their gluten at the door. The good news is, that our appliances were brand new when we moved in, so they have only had 100% gluten-free foods in them. This being said, when my husband gets the chance to eat out of the house, gluten is ALWAYS on his mind! So much so in fact, he has jokingly had a full conversation with a basket of bread at Longhorn (which has a FANTASTIC gluten-free menu, by the way.)

My husband works in Audio/Visual equipment rentals. His offices rent nationally for conferences, concerts, events, etc. At times they need to leave the office to drop off equipment, set up a show, etc. and will grab lunch out of the office. Being the amazingly supportive husband he is, he always does two things: #1. Checks for a gluten-free menu, or gluten-free options; and #2. He sends me a picture of whatever delicious, glutenous concoction he’s ordered. Sometimes it sounds and looks so delicious that all I want to do is try it. Well, as those of you with Autoimmune Diseases, Intolerances, or Food Allergies know, we can’t always have what we want without paying for it dearly. That’s where my fun begins! First, I ask: What was in it? I study his photos intently. I read the description on the restaurant’s menu. Then, I begin to write my recipe, making it gluten-free, sulfite-free, MSG-free, and as little Lactose as possible. Next is my favorite part: The taste test. Of course, as a Celiac with multiple intolerances, I’m happy just eating anything. The REAL test begins when my husband tries it. If someone without dietary restrictions can’t taste a difference, and still thinks it is just as good (if not better,) then you know you have a hit!

This is how it all started with this next dish, the Creole Cajun Au Gratin. His description was “Potatoes, Andouille, Spicy, and Cheesy.” Not too much for me to go off of. So there I was in the supermarket, Smartphone in hand, looking at his picture, and going off his memory of a dish from 2 months ago, trying to create my own gluten-free recipe. I am so glad I did! It is absolutely DELICIOUS! It is hearty, spicy, and cheesy. We both loved it (and he agreed it was just as good as the non gluten-free version.) Now my husband doesn’t like a lot of heat, so this is a very MILD version. If you like heat, feel free to add Cajun Seasoning to each component (instead of just the potatoes.) I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

If you have any other dish you have been dying to try, that is not inherently gluten-free, feel free to email me at: theglutenfreewife@gmail.com, and I’ll be happy to take a look at it. All I need is the name of the dish, the restaurant it is located, a photo (if available,) and I will be happy to give it a try for you (be sure to include your intolerances in your email.)

Here it is…The amazingly spicy, cheesy, and absolutely yummy GLUTEN-FREE, SULFITE-FREE, and MSG-FREE Creole Cajun Au Gratin!

Equipment: Baking Sheet, Aluminum Foil, 1 Gallon Ziploc Bag, Skillet, Medium Sauce Pot

Ingredients:

Sausage:
1 Package Gluten-free Andouille Sausage, sliced on the bias/angle or coins (***I used Aidells Brand, and both times had a reaction-though labeled gluten-free!)
1/2 cup Yellow Onion Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Green Bell Pepper Sliced
1 6oz Package Gluten-free Canadian Bacon (I use Jones Brand)
Potatoes:
3 Medium-Large Russet/Idaho Potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp. Cajun Seasoning  (McCormick is what I used with no reaction- a lot of seasonings contain wheat/cross-contamination)
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Gallon Ziploc Bag
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My Cheese Sauce (also used for a delicious gluten-free “Alfredo”):
1/4 cup Chives
1 cup Fresh Italian Parsley (if you can’t find flat leaf, curly will suffice.)
 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 8oz pig Softened Cream Cheese (I use Greek Yogurt/Cream Cheese Blend)
1 stick Butter or Margarine
1/2-1 cup Milk (to thin sauce to desired consistency)
1 c Freshly Shredded White Cheese of Choice (I use 3/4 cup Gruyere and 1/4 cup Gouda)
1 tbsp. #1 Seasoning Blend  (or Cajun Seasoning for a Medium-Spicy Sauce)
1/2 tsp Annatto Seasoning (for coloring) ***leave out if using as an Alfredo
Directions:
Potatoes:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Scrub Potatoes. Slice Vertically, down the center, then cut into cubes. Put into Ziploc.
3. Stir Cajun Seasoning and Olive Oil together. Pour into Ziploc, seal bag, Shake until every potato is coated evenly.
***If more Olive Oil/Seasoning is needed to coat all Potatoes, repeat step 3.
4. Cover Baking Sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place Potatoes in single layer on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping potatoes over every 10 minutes.
Sauce:
1. Melt Butter on Medium-Low Heat.
2. Add #1 Seasoning Blend/Cajun Seasoning (if adding extra heat,) Chopped Chives, Chopped Parsley, and Minced Garlic.
3. Add Cream Cheese in cubes, stir consistently until melted, and incorporated into butter.
4. Shred Cheeses. Stir into Sauce. It will be really thick and Cheesy. Add Milk to thin it out. Keep adding Milk 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, slowly, stirring vigorously, until desired consistency is reached. Reduce Heat to Low.
5. Add 1/2 of the cooked Canadian Bacon. Cook 5-8 minutes until all Cheese is melted and Sauce is at desired consistency. Stir frequently.
Sausage:
1. Place Peppers and Onions in Skillet over Medium Heat.
2. You will cook until Onions opaque and Peppers softened, stirring frequently to be sure they won’t burn. Cook 5 minutes.
3. Add Garlic, Chopped Canadian Bacon, and Andouille Sausage. Cook additional 5 minutes.
4. Flip Sausage. Cook last 5 minutes. (If the Onions, Peppers, and Garlic begin over cooking/burning, remove them while you finish cooking the Sausage.)
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Plating:
1. Toss the Potatoes with the Peppers, Onions, Remaining Canadian Bacon, Garlic, and Andouille Sausage.
2. Top with Cheese Sauce.
3. Enjoy!!!
Featured

St. Patrick’s Day Gluten-Free Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by many nationalities these days, not just by the Irish. In talking with my husband, he told me it is not a holiday celebrated by Puerto Ricans (however, they do celebrate Cinco de Mayo- a Mexican Holiday.) So when he moved to the states, he began adopting a few of our traditions…and who wouldn’t want an excuse to drink green beer (other than a Celiac, of course?!) A little about the Patron Saint Patrick: Did you know he was British? He was taken captive to Ireland, converted to Christianity, where he eventually became an ordained priest. He is also the person to impose a sun onto the Christian cross, to create what we all know now as the Celtic cross. However, it is only a myth that he eradicated all snakes from Ireland. He is believed to have died on March 17th, 460 AD, which is where we get our St. Patrick’s Day!

So where did we get our St. Patrick’s Day traditions? Symbolizing the rebirth of spring, the Shamrock: Near the 17th Century, British rule had begun to seize Irish land and outlaw their Irish language and Catholicism. Irish Nationals began to wear the Shamrock as a symbol of national pride and to rebel against the English rule. Corned Beef and Cabbage: Though Cabbage has long been a staple in Irish food (and as we learned in Scrumptious Slaw, is also INCREDIBLY healthy for us,) Corned Beef only began since the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living in the lower east side of New York substituted Corned Beef for Irish Bacon in the diet to save money. They learned this substitution from their Jewish neighbors. Green: why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Actually, Green wasn’t the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know it was blue? There is actually a color called St. Patrick’s Day Blue. Green came from the Shamrock, the Emerald Isle, and in 1798 they had the United Irish Uprising and wore Green uniforms. Only here in the United States, did we adopt green as the color of St. Patrick’s Day.

Now, back to my husband…I decided last year (after not being able to go out and partake in the drinking of the green beer,) that a new tradition must begin, and I started making Stuffed Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. I told my husband we’d start our own tradition. He, of course, had never had Stuffed Cabbage, so I was excited to introduce him to a new favorite of mine. This meal is easy to prepare, reheat, and the best part: it is GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, AND MSG-FREE!! So grab your cabbage, throw on something green, and enjoy the tasty life with the gluten-free wife!

Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 c Chopped Sweet Onions
1 1/2 tbsp. Italian Seasoning Paste (Organic)
3 tbsp. Sofrito
1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
2 Jars Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic, and Onion (this specific bottle is Gluten-free)
1 Head Green Cabbage
Rice Ingredients:
1 1/2c medium or long grain (rinsed) White Rice
2 c Organic, Gluten-free Chicken Stock
1 packet MSG, Gluten-free Sazon Tropical, or 1 tbsp. #1 Seasoning Blend
1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
Ground Beef Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb Ground Beef
3 tbsp. Sofrito
2 tbsp. Minced Garlic
1/3c Chopped Sweet Onions
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
Filling Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1/2c Gluten-free Breadcrumbs
1/2c Uncooked White Rice
1 1/2lb Ground Beef
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Directions:
1. Marinate Beef in 3 tbsp. Sofrito,1 tbsp. #1 Seasoning Blend, 2 tbsp. Minced Garlic, and 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
2. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
3.Chop 2/3c Onions, sauté until opaque in color.
4. Add 1/3c Onions in medium sauce pan with jar of sauce, 1 tbsp. Garlic, 3 tbsp. Sofrito, and Italian Seasoning Paste. Bring to Boil, reduce to simmer, stirring frequently.
5. Boil a large “Pasta Pot” of water. Remove the core of the Cabbage, and submerge head first into pot for roughly 2 minutes. Remove leaves with tongs, one at a time (you’ll need 14-20 leaves.) Cut out the “rib” of the leave from the base of the Cabbage leaf with a knife, and set aside.
6. Combine the 1 1/2lb Ground Beef, 1/2c uncooked White Rice, 2 Eggs, 1/2c Breadcrumbs, remaining 1/3c cooked Onions. Mix with hands (like making meatloaf.) Then add 1c Sauce, mixing thoroughly.
7. Place 1c Sauce on bottom of 9×13 pan. Place 1/3-1/2c filling in an egg shape near where you cut the rib off of the cabbage. Roll up toward the outer edge, tucking in the sides as you roll (think like a burrito/egg roll.) Place each roll, seam side down onto the sauce. (if you run out of space, pour 1c sauce over previous rolls, and place next rolls into the seams on top of the previous rolls.)
8. Finish by pouring sauce on top of last row of rolls.
9. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, or until meat is cooked, and rice is tender.
10. Have a Safe and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Enjoy!

cabbage roll 2016

Featured

Gluten-Free Meatloaf Cupcakes

I love to cook, but most of all, I love to create. Most of my recipes have come from my head and heart. Sometimes I will try something I see online, television, from a friend, or something passed down from family, but I always put my own spin on it. This is one of those recipes…My husband isn’t a huge fan of sweets, and I really wanted to make him something special this past weekend to show my appreciation and love for all the support he provides (so I got creative.) Food Imposter: Food that isn’t exactly what it seems. Ex: Meatloaf Cupcake/Ice Cream Taco. Food Network posts on their blog, “These fake-out foods may look more difficult to make than they really are; broken down into steps, they become a fun and easy project to make on the weekend.” Now this isn’t your normal “Boring” Meatloaf. I have adapted my grandmother’s recipe (my family came Straight Outta Sicily, also whom I’ve inherited the Celiac gene,) to make it “Italian Style.” Like one giant Meatball! It stays moist, seasoned to perfection, and absolutely scrumptious! One of my favorite memories growing up, was watching her cook Sunday family dinners. She’d cook the Meatballs, and Sauce for HOURS! When she passed away, my Mother received her cookbook, and passed the recipe down to me. Now I am passing it onto you, with just a few alterations. Below, you will find my ingredients and step-by-step instructions, for this fun, tasty, and attractive dish! They can be made for potlucks, dinner parties, appetizers, and family mealtimes. Best part is that they can be eaten with your hands, and they reheat without drying out!

Equipment: Food Processor/Blender, 18ct Cupcake Pan, Piping Bag fitted with Large Circular tip

Ingredients:

ITALIAN MEATLOAF:

1 ½ lbs Ground Beef

¼ tsp Cumin

1 tsp Paprika

½ tsp Ground Thyme

½ tsp Ground Mustard

¼ tsp White Pepper

½ tsp Salt

3 Cloves Minced Garlic

1 tbsp Finely Chopped Shallot

4 tbsp Sofrito (see Sofrito Recipe in “Marinades”)

 

  1. Measure out and mix all dry ingredients, listed above, together in large bowl, add Ground Beef, Sofrito, Minced Garlic, Chopped Shallot, and combine. Massage well with hands until all seasonings are incorporated into meat, thoroughly.
  2. Cover, and put into refrigerator for at least an hour, no more than 4 to marinate.
  3. Remove Meat mixture from refrigerator, and preheat oven to 350°. Add the following to blender/food processor:

 

2 leaves Fresh Basil

2/3 cup Fresh Parsley (I use Curly leaf)

6 leaves Fresh Oregano

2 Eggs

½ cup freshly (shredded) Parmesan Cheese

 

  1. Blend well, then add to meat mixture, and again Massage well with hands until all seasonings are incorporated into meat, thoroughly.
  2. Spray 18 muffin tins with non-stick spray, and pack meat into muffin tins until ¾ full. (If making a traditional meatloaf, using a bread pan, form meat mixture into a log shape, and top with ½ cup Ketchup.)
  3. Bake for 35 minutes for Muffins, 45-60 minutes for loaf.
  4. Remove from oven and set on paper towels to drain grease.

 

LOADED MASHED POTATOES

Ingredients:

*Organic Instant Mashed Potatoes (If you use Organic, this insures Sulfite-free!)

*Butter

*Milk

*Organic Chicken Broth (substitute this for the water, I prefer Imagine brand, GF, and SF.)

2 Cloves Minced Garlic

½ tsp Onion Powder

¼ tsp Celery Salt

¼ tsp White Pepper

3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese (Grated)

 

  1. Follow directions on bag/box of mashed potatoes for the first four ingredients, substituting the chicken broth for the water. This will add amazing flavor and color to your “icing,” adding a yellow hue to it.
  2. Add the minced Garlic to the broth as you bring it to a boil, then add the rest of the seasonings and Parmesan after the potato mixture has thickened. Whip with fork thoroughly.

Putting them together:

  1. Place potato mixture in piping bag fit with a large round tip. Pipe in a circular motion, beginning around the outside, and spiraling inward, into a peak in the center (looking like soft-serve ice cream.)
  2. Pipe all “Cupcakes.”
  3. Gather your favorite toppings, bacon bits, shredded cheese, chives, etc. (the more colorful, the better!)
  4. Top each “Cupcake” with your “Sprinkles,” and enjoy.

 

Remember, if you try out this recipe, please leave a comment below with how it turned out, and if there were any alterations you made. As always, if there are any questions you may have regarding this recipe or others, please email me at: theglutenfreewife@gmail.com.

 

meatloaf-cupcakes
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Gooey, Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t LOVE a delicious, warm, ooey, gooey, Macaroni and Cheese? The problem is that most Gluten Free Eaters are Dairy Free, Lactose Intolerant, and/or their only option is mediocre gluten free boxed concoctions. Now, I have found some fairly delicious boxed “Mac” brands with only minimal alterations needed to remove the processed taste (see suggestions below “Homemade” recipe for my alterations to boxed Macs.) Trader Joe’s has a gluten free box, which is the best I’ve found so far. It has a “Smiley Face” on the box, and is my husband’s favorite as well (both by taste and price.) LiveGFree, from Aldi, makes a yummy box as well, however not lactose Free. Now for a gluten free vegan option, the best brand we’ve found is from Sprouts. Sadly, I cannot remember the name of the brand. If anyone can help, please comment below, to help our dairy/lactose Free, vegan friends? The problem with these boxes (other than the processed flavor-which we will address later,) is you miss the ooey, gooey, pull-apart, cheesy-ness that comes with baked homemade macaroni and cheese.

Now, as a lactose intolerant, I have not experimented with a homemade “Dairy Free” Macaroni and Cheese Recipe, as of yet. I choose to take the MAGICAL Lactaid enzyme pill. If you have not been introduced to the enzyme pill, and you are lactose intolerant, let me bring light back into your life. It is a “Lactase Enzyme Supplement.” You take one-three pills (depending which pills you buy,) with the first bite of your meal. It lasts for 30 minutes. So say you’re at a restaurant and they bring out your Salad, topped with Shredded Cheese and Ranch Dressing. You would take your 1-3 pills with your first bite of Salad. Now, if your main dish with your Loaded Baked Potato doesn’t come within 30 minutes, or you order flourless chocolate cake for dessert, you’ll need to take another 1-3 pills with that first bite as well. You will notice such a difference! The discomfort and digestive issues you use to feel will either disappear completely or become so much more tolerable. Now, other than the pill, you can help with the ingredients you use in your recipes. I use margarine and soy spreads as opposed to butter. Blue Bonnet and Earth Balance are my two favorites. Blue Bonnet is only $0.99 for 4 sticks, but isn’t the healthiest option, so I use it sparingly. Earth Balance is more expensive ($4-6 depending on the quantity and where you purchase it,) but it is a lot better for you. I also use Lactaid milk. Most grocery stores offer a generic lactose free milk. Kroger’s brand is $3 for about 1/2 gallon. I prefer Lactaid over Almond/Coconut/Soy milk. Traditionally “Nut” milks tend to change the flavor and texture of what you’re cooking. So unless you’re allergic to Dairy, I always suggest Lactaid over using Nut milks, unless of course you have a dairy allergy! Next is cheeses. Trader Joe’s has amazing Almond Mozzarella and Soy Shreds, and Sprouts has the best cheeses with Lactose free Shredded Yogurt and Jalapeno Cheeses. My problem is both stores are about 30 minutes away, so I don’t make it there often. So what do you do to calm the gut when you can’t buy Lactose Free cheeses that taste good? You read the labels. If the cheese says 0g sugar, it is naturally lower in Lactose, and therefore will cause you less (however possibly some) discomfort. So remember your enzyme pill we discussed! Now some cheese may be packaged from the store without nutritional information depending on your country’s food labeling regulations, so the general rule to abide by is: the harder the cheese, the lower the Lactose. You can also go here: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Lactose Free Information PDF, for a list of cheeses and other dairy products, as well as other important information on living with Lactose Intolerance.

Though this recipe is not “Lactose or Dairy Free,” I’ve done my best to reduce the Lactose as much as possible. This recipe is delicious on Day 1; however, as leftovers, it does dry out slightly (as we all know gluten free pasta usually does,) so to reheat, simply put 1 tsp of a “Buttery Spread” per serving, and reheat to add moisture back in. With any of my recipes, if you try it and add/subtract anything, please comment below, so others may have other options as well? I hope you enjoy the tasty life, with the Gluten Free Wife!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Potato Leek Soup (I use Imagine Brand)
2 sprigs Thyme
2 tbsp Chives
1 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
1 tbsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 c Grated Parmesean
1 1/2 cup Three Cheese Shredded Cheddar (and more for topping)
12 oz Gluten Free pasta (Rotini and Elbows work best)

Optional:
Jalapeños
Breadcrumbs
Additional Cheese

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Pictured above with my Salmon en Papillote

Directions:
1. Pour soup base into medium sauce pot on medium heat.
2. Add Seasonings, Parsley, Whole Thyme Sprigs, and Garlic. Cook 5 mins, then reduce to simmer.
3. Meanwhile, boil water for pasta. Add 1 tbsp oil to large pot of water, and “salt like the ocean.”
4. Add pasta to water, stirring frequently.
5. Preheat oven to 350°.
5. Cook pasta according to directions (and sometimes longer depending, so taste until desired texture is reached.) Drain, and return to pot.
6. (Remove Thyme Sprigs.) Pour seasoned soup base into pasta.
7. Add cheeses, Jalapeños (optional,) and Chives into Pasta, and stir. If not melting, turn burner on low, and keep stirring until all cheese is melted.
8. Spray oven-safe dish with cooking spray, add noodle mix. Top with additional cheeses or breadcrumbs (optional.)

mac and cheese

(Topped with Aleia’s Gluten Free Breadcrumbs)

9. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is melted, and if topped with breadcrumbs, they’re browned.
10. Enjoy!

 

To “Doctor Up” Boxed Macaroni and Cheese:

Ingredients/Directions:
Follow Milk/Butter ratios on box; however, put “butter” in microwave for 30 seconds to melt along with:
2 Large Cloves Minced Garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
1 tbsp Cilantro
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Pepper
Once Above is Melted, Mix in Powder Cheese and Milk with Seasoned Butter Mixture and blend well. Stir into cooked noodles. Then add:
1/2 c Shredded Cheese of Choice (I prefer Gruyere)
2 tbsp Chives
And Enjoy!