Archive for May, 2009


Menu Plan May 18

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mpm121jpgI don’t know why, but for some reason I had a really hard time coming up with a meal plan this week. I was trying to keep a balance between beef and chicken; a balance of meals that appeal to my husband and me and meals more appealing to my kids; make sure we’ve got enough fiber from fruits and vegetables, etc. But what I really wanted to decide, is what wonderful chocolate dessert I was going to make for my birthday this week. I did finally come up with a meal plan, but I still haven’t decided on my birthday treat. I’m thinking about making a Mississippi mud cake (haven’t had one in years!), but if you’ve got any chocolate dessert suggestions send them my way. 🙂

Monday – Cheeseburgers
Easy night of cooking with cheeseburgers, fries, corn-on-the-cob, and green beans.

Tuesday – Grilled Chicken
Chicken breasts simply seasoned and grilled. Serving with zucchini fritters and red quinoa (if I can find it at the store).

Wednesday – Flank Steak
I didn’t get a chance to have this last week — too many leftovers to eat up. So, I’m trying again this week. Serving with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.

Thursday – Grilled Chicken Salad
Using some leftover grilled chicken from Tuesday to top a salad. Haven’t yet decided on a Greek salad with the feta in my fridge, or a southwest-style salad with leftover corn and black bean salad in my fridge.

Friday – Crockpot Garlic Chicken
Looking forward to trying this recipe I found on JoAnn’s Gluten-Free Recipe Archive. Serving with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Saturday – Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Another leftover recipe using the flank steak from Wednesday and adding in some cheese and sauteed onions. I’ll use Against the Grain baguettes for the bread.

Sunday – Leftovers
Any prepared foods left in the refrigerator come out for a pick-your-own-meal buffet.

For more gluten-free meals and recipes check out the GF Menu Swap, hosted this week by Book of Yum. The theme ingredient of the week is zucchini, so if you’ve got zucchini be sure to check out all the recipes.

Even more meals and recipes (not necessarily gluten-free) are listed at’s Menu Plan Monday.

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Chicken Enchiladas

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img_3299xI love chicken enchiladas with salsa verde (green sauce), but ordering at restaurants can be difficult to determine if it is gluten-free. The restaurants may dip the corn tortillas in the same oil that the flour tortillas are at the restaurant, thus creating a cross-contamination risk. In addition, wheat flour could be used in the sauce or in the chicken broth used to prepare the chicken and sauce.

Well, here’s a recipe you can make at home that is just as good as you can get in a restaurant, or perhaps better! It does take some time to make it, but it isn’t difficult and it’s so worth it! My dad makes the original recipe and always gets rave reviews. I’ve modified it slightly to make it a little easier on me and adjust the flavor to my liking, but the original recipe comes from El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook.

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde


2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chiles
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. tomatillos (about 5 or 6 six large)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Cup chicken broth (Make sure it’s gluten-free.)
2 TBSP olive oil
1  1/2 Cups corn oil
12, 6-inch corn tortillas
4 cups chicken, cooked and shredded (Try Slow-Cooked Mexican Chicken.)
12 oz. shredded cheese (about 3 Cups) Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or combination


  1. Cook tomatillos in a pot of salted (1 tsp) boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Don’t cook too long or the tomatillos may fall apart. Remove from the water and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, I cut out the stem.
  2. In a blender, combine tomatillos, onion, jalapenos, garlic and 1-1/2 tsp salt. Blend until smooth. Add the green chilles and then enough chicken broth (about 1 Cup) to make sauce a total of 4 Cups.
  3. In a large skillet warm olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the tomatillo sauce carefully (it may splatter). Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. In a deep skillet or large pot, heat 1/4″-1/2″ corn oil over medium heat. Using tongs, immerse the tortillas one at a time in the oil, turn them, and then transfer them to absorbent paper. The tortillas should be in the oil no more than a few seconds, and the oil should be hot enough to soften the tortillas but not so hot that the edges begin to crisp.
  5. For each tortilla, spread a TBSP of sauce on it. Place about 1/3 cup chicken and about 1 TBSP of shredded cheese in the bottom center of the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place in a baking dish (I use a 9″x13″ pan.). Continue for the remaining 11 tortillas.
  6. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F until heated through, cheese is melted, and sauce is bubbling – about 15 minutes.

Additional Notes:

  • For the jalapenos, I chop the whole chile and discard only the stem. If you like your enchiladas a little more mild, be sure to remove the seeds before chopping.
  • These make great leftovers. Just heat a couple enchiladas for 90 seconds in the microwave.

Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is doing a round-up of garlic recipes this week for Friday Foodie Fix. She has a lot of good information on different types of garlic. And, I’m sure there will be lots of garlic recipes to review. Although this recipe doesn’t have a lot of garlic in it, it wouldn’t be the same without it.


Pork Chops with Black Beans

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img_3380xAnother quick and easy favorite meal at our house. My kids don’t really eat the beans, which I guess is why there are always lots of beans leftover. My kids do eat the pork chops, however, and that’s good enough for me.

For more gluten-free meal ideas, check out What’s For Dinner Wednesday at the Gluten-free Homemaker.

Pork Chops with Black Beans


4-6 pork chops, boneless, cut 3/4″ thick
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa
1 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Season pork chops with garlic salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook pork chops in the skillet until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops from the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, combine the beans, salsa and cilantro.
  4. Now, put the pork chops back into the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 5 to 6 minutes or till no pink remains and juices run clear.

Additional Notes:

  • The fresh cilantro really livens up the meal. However, I don’t always have it in the house. Instead I may add a little dried coriander, and top with chopped avocado.
  • Serve with rice.
  • This is a recipe I modified from “Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.” After nearly 80 years in publication (with many variations and updates along the way), it’s still a great cookbook.
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Weekly Menu May 11

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So I’ve taken a couple weeks off from menu planning, or at least posting them. It’s been a busy couple months: family visiting, daughter’s birthday party, cross-country road trip, etc. I finally decided I had to take a break. I’m almost caught up with laundry, but the cleaning is going to have to wait a little longer. So, here’s my menu plan for this week.

Monday – Chicken Divan
Chicken and broccoli casserole with a mild, creamy curry sauce served with rice.

Tuesday – Hamburger Stroganoff
Quick meal of hamburger, bacon and onion cooked with a creamy chicken and mushroom sauce. Served atop gluten-free flat pasta.

Wednesday –Chicken Taquitos
I’ll be rolling up some slow-cooked Mexican chicken in corn tortillas to make taquitos. I’ll have my husband make his favorite magic cheese dip for them. And I’ll make a black bean and corn salad to serve with it.

Thursday – Loaded Baked Potatoes
Using up some leftover Hamburger Stroganoff to pour over baked potatoes.

Friday – Garlic Chicken Pizza
After a very disappointing gluten-free pizza at Uno’s last week, I’ve decided it’s time to try making pizza again. I’m going to try Brian’s recipe at

Saturday – Leftover Buffet
Time to clean out the refrigerator and check inventory for next week’s meal planning.

Sunday – Grilled Flank Steak
Flank steak marinated in an Asian-inspired mixture of GF soy sauce, ginger, mustard, etc. and cooked on the grill. Serving with green beans and steak fries.

For more gluten-free meals and recipes check out the GF Menu Swap, hosted this week by Lilac Kitchen.

Even more meals and recipes (not necessarily gluten-free) at’s Menu Plan Monday.

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Sandwich Bread Alternatives

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I just got back from a long road trip with the family. During our trip I was contemplating alternatives for sandwich bread. I made a loaf of our favorite sandwich bread before we left to take with us, but it didn’t last the whole trip. So, we used some alternatives which are quite tasty. Next time you’re out of gluten-free sandwich bread and don’t have the time or desire to make some for today’s lunch, consider these alternatives:

img_3377xRice Paper/Spring Roll Wraps – Need to hydrate.
I’ve used these to make fried egg rolls, but this is my newest discovery for wrapping up sandwich fillings. These round paper-thin wraps are stiff and fragile until you hydrate them. You hydrate them by simply placing them in a plate of water. It only takes about 10 seconds. Take them out of the water before it gets too soggy and starts to disintegrate. Let the excess water drip off, then place on a clean plate, or a crisp linen towel. (At this point, the wrap should be flexible enough to roll up. If not, give it a few more seconds in the water.) Place your fillings in the center of the top third of the wrap. Fold the top over the fillings, then fold in the sides. Next, roll it toward you, tucking and tightening it as you go. You’ll notice that the wrap is slightly sticky and stretchy. Use parchment or wax paper to wrap each one if you need to transport or save for later. Serve as is, or cut in half and serve with dressing. I made some last week with grilled chicken strips, cheese sticks, cucumber sticks, avocado slices and a little mustard. My husband loved them! And so did I.

You can find these at many grocery stores on the shelves with Asian foods. If your grocery store doesn’t carry them, try an Asian food market or online.

Need more detailed instruction for wrapping rice paper rolls? Check out Viet World Kitchen. It also has tips for buying rice papers.

Rice Cakes
Most of you are probably familiar with these. Thick, round, light, but crunchy cakes with little taste. Probably too thick for actually sandwiching something between two, but works well with a variety of toppings: peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese, ham, tomato, egg salad, etc.

These are easy to find at any grocery store or online.

img_3368xCorn Thins – Great for kids.
Similar size and shape to rice cakes, but much thinner and much tastier! Think popcorn (without salt and butter) smashed into a thin round cake. My kids love to eat these for snacks, plain or with toppings. I have often used these to make them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not easy to cut without crumbling, but you don’t need to. The size is perfect for eating as is. Other sandwich fillings: cream cheese and jelly, ham and cheese, bologna, etc. Consider eating for a quick breakfast too.

These are carried at a lot of grocery stores now. If yours doesn’t carry them, try a natural food market or online.

Corn Tortillas – Need a little heat.
When I first started the gluten-free diet, this is what I ate for lunch most days. My kids were too little to eat sandwiches, so I didn’t bother making a lot of bread even for myself. Instead I heated up ham and cheese in a corn tortilla. Quick and easy, which is what I needed with two little ones at home all day.

These do need a little heat to keep from falling apart, but it doesn’t take much.  For a quick sandwich, or quesadilla, lightly spray the tortilla with oil and put in a hot skillet over medium heat. Top it with a slice of cheese and ham or other sandwich filling. Let the cheese melt and fold over like an omelette. Quick and easy hot sandwich. Great for hot dogs, too!

I like to cook up a whole batch of tortillas and them keep them in the refrigerator until I need them (for a quick sandwich, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, taquitos, etc.). To cook a whole batch, heat up 1/4 – 1/2″ of corn oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, use tongs to place the tortillas in the oil. Five seconds on each side is usually enough to cook it without getting too crispy or soggy. Then, remove it from the oil and place on a rack or paper towels to drain excess oil.  Once they’ve cooled, stack them up and place into a zip-style bag for storing in the refrigerator. To use for sandwiches later, heat them on a hot, but dry skillet until they start to sizzle or leave it in a little longer if you like it crispy. For softer tortillas, just place it in the microwave for 5 seconds.

You should be able to find these at any grocery store.

Lettuce – Keep cool until time to eat.
Why not use lettuce to wrap your sandwich fillings? There are a variety of lettuces that would work for this, but my favorites are Cosmopolitan Lettuce (a cross between Romaine and Iceberg), Romaine, and Butter lettuce. Take a big leaf and place your fillings in the middle, fold it taco-style, and enjoy! Perfect for egg salad, ham and cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs and more.

Pancakes and Waffles – Gluten-free, of course!
I almost forgot to include these. If you’ve got these in your freezer, it’s as quick and easy as popping them into a toaster. Spread peanut butter and jelly on them, Nutella Hazelnut Spread, cream cheese and jelly or fresh fruit… you get the idea. If the pancakes are large enough, you could even roll them around a hot dog, or fold them over and use like a taco to fill with sandwich fixings. And, if you don’t have any pancakes or waffles in the freezer, it’s still faster to make them then bread.

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Categories : Lunch, Product Advisory
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