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

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.
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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.
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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.

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**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!

Gluten-free Plantain, Sofrito Ground Beef, and Andouille Nachos

Plantains are a close relative to bananas. Studies show they help boost the immune system, regulate digestion, and are rich in Potassium (among other vitamins and nutrients.) All three of these facts are extremely important in the diet of someone with an autoimmune disorder, especially one effecting the digestive system and vitamin absorption. So what is the nutritional value of plantains?

1 cup of cooked plantains equals:
200 calories
0.4 grams of fat
36% Vitamin A
36% Vitamin C
27% Potassium
24% B6
16% Magnesium
6% Iron
% in Daily Value

As you can see, they make for a great vitamin-enriched, low-fat side dish. Now, if you’re not familiar with Plantains, unlike bananas, they must be cooked to be enjoyable. Preparing them to cook, may be the most difficult task, which is why I leave this task to my husband! As I’ve stated before, he is originally from Puerto Rico, and Plantains are a staple in their diet, as well in many other Latin and African cultures. The best way to clean and prepare your Plantains varies, based on which dish you are preparing. If you’re preparing a savory option, as this recipe calls for, slice a vertical cut down your dark green (you do not want any yellow) Plantain, then cut off each end. While running them under warm-hot water, peel off the rind. Now, if your recipe calls for “Sweet” Plantains, you’ll want to pick plantains that are solid yellow and black, with no green whatsoever. For sweet plantains, simply peel as you would a banana. There are many ways to eat Plantains: Tostones, Sweet Plantains, Mofongo (I’ll be posting my Mofongo Burger recipe next week,) or my new recipe: Plantain Nachos!

Ground Beef Ingredients:
3 tbsp. Sofrito Marinade
2 tbsp. My #1 Seasoning Blend
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef

Plantain Ingredients:
2-4 Large GREEN Plantains (2 feeds 2, 4 feeds 4)
Oil for frying (I use vegetable oil)
Andouille Ingredients:
Andouille Sausage (2 links-not Aidells, I had a reaction twice, even though this brand states gluten-free, I’d be weary.)
1/4 cup Yellow Onion
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
Mayo-Ketchup Ingredients:
1/8 cup Mayonnaise (I use Kraft Light Mayo, no lemon juice concentrate means no sulfite preservative.)
1/4 cup Ketchup (I use Organic)
1/8 tsp Adobo
1 Clove Garlic
Toppings:
2 Scallions/Young Vidalia Onion Stems
1-2 Roma Tomatoes, Seeded
1/2 cup Cilantro chopped
1 1/2 cup Gouda Cheese (or cheese of your choice, Shredded)
1 tbsp Gluten-free/Sulfite-free Sweet Chili Sauce (optional)
Directions:
1. Mix Ground Beef with Sofrito and #1. Seasoning Blend. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
2. Heat oil in skillet. Cut plantains on the bias, in 1/4in thick slices.
3. Fry Plantains, near-fully submerged, until brown “freckles” show, flipping over once. Roughly 6-10 minutes.
Frying plantains
4. Drain on paper towel.
5. Meanwhile, Brown Ground Beef.
6. Dice Andouille, and sauté along with onions and garlic for 6-8 minutes.
7. Chop Cilantro and shred cheese. Mix together.
8. Seed and Dice Tomatoes, Slice Scallions.
9. Mix Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Adobo, Garlic, and Sweet Chili Sauce (optional,) and whisk together.
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**Pictured above is the Mayo-Ketchup with 1/4 the Cilantro and Scallions
10. Plate as follows: Plantains, Ground Beef, Andouille/Onion/Garlic mixture, Cilantro/Cheese, Scallions, and drizzle with Mayo-Ketchup Sauce.
11. ENJOY!
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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!!!

Gluten-Free Splendid Spaghetti and Ricotta Meatballs

My Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother came over from Sicily in 1908. They landed in Ellis Island, and via Chicago, landed in Arma, Kansas. This is where my Grandfather, Paul, met my Grandmother, Dorothy. These two are the two best people I have and will ever known. Dorothy was a nurse. She was kind, very funny, and one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. She was not only diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but she was also diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease as well. Sadly, she passed away from Esophageal Cancer (which is very common in patients with Celiac Disease, back then about 75% to be exact…this is why it is SO VERY IMPORTANT to follow a strict gluten-free diet.) Paul just turned 97 years young this past September, and owned his own business. He is an incredibly smart, kind, and loving man. They have three children, and three grandchildren. One of my favorite memories was when the entire family was in town for our Sunday family dinners…Now, if you’re Italian, or even just have a large family, you know what I’m talking about! Grandma would wake up at 5am to put the sugo on (direct translation is “gravy,” but we mean sauce,) in would go the neck bones and meatballs, and they would simmer for HOURS! Well, if my grandmother knew I was giving you a recipe using a jar sauce, or even just oven-baked meatballs, it would be the end of me! But believe me, it still tastes like it baked for hours (sometimes I still let it sit on the stove for over an hour or so.) Then, 6 hours later, you’d finally eat…well, ain’t no body got time for that! I watched her for years make all of our food and then her separate “Celiac” bowl of macaroni pasta (that’s all they had back then.) So, let’s take a moment to be grateful for how far gluten-free has come, please? We use to have to drive to a store about 30 mins away just to get her bread (they didn’t have it at any of her normal supermarkets back then.) Now you can find it nearly everywhere. So below, you will find my family’s, though modified, recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. I have made some creative changes over the years. I do bake them in the oven now, as opposed to in the sauce. This bakes out the grease, still keeps them moist, and keeps the cooking time and mess to a minimum. I hope you enjoy this little taste of my home and history!

 

Meatballs:

1 ½ lbs Ground Beef (80% lean or better)

3 tbsp Sofrito

2 tsp #1 Seasoning Blend

4 cloves minced Garlic

2/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2/3 cup Breadcrumbs (gluten-free Italian, 4C is a good brand)

¼ tsp dried Basil

¼ tsp dried Parsley

2 Eggs

½ tsp Chili Powder (optional)

 

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Sauce:

1/3 c chopped Sweet Onions

½ tbsp. Italian Seasoning Paste

3 tbsp Sofrito

3 cloves minced Garlic

3 jars Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic, and Onion (gluten-free and sulfite-free!)

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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)

 

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Directions:

  1. Marinate Meat. Massage Sofrito, Seasoning Blend, and Garlic into meat. Cover, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  2. Saute chopped Onions and minced Garlic in pan until Onions are opaque and Garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add to a large saucepan with jars of Sauce, Seasoning Paste, and Sofrito.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 mins, stirring frequently.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Meanwhile, remove Meat Mixture. Mix in Parmesan, Breadcrumbs, Eggs, Parsley, Basil, and Chili Powder (Optional.) Massage with hands until fully incorporated.
  6. Spray 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray. Spread very thin layer of sauce along bottom of pan. Roll into 1.5 inch Meatballs, and set carefully into sauce.
  7. For Ricotta mixture. You can put all ingredients in food processor or chop Herbs, Shallot (optional,) mince Garlic, add 1 tsp Paprika, etc, and whisk together with fork into the Ricotta.
  8. Take a normal spoon, and spoon sauce onto each Meatball, then a spoon of Ricotta mixture on each Meatball, then top each meatball with a sprinkle of dried Oregano. Bake for 35-45 minutes depending on size of Meatballs.
  9. Finally, last 20 minutes of Meatballs, Boil water for Pasta. Follow directions on your box. Drain Pasta, toss in half of remaining sauce (coating every noodle.)
  10. 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!

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