Archive for November, 2009


Menu Plan Nov. 30

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mpm121jpgI hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner with a house full of family. I’ve spent the last couple days playing lots of games with the kids. And, due to all of the leftovers, I haven’t had to cook dinner since Thursday. So, I’m repeating a couple meals from last week that I never got a chance to cook.

Monday – White Chicken Chili
Time for a break from the turkey. I’m planning to make chili with chicken, white beans, and some southwestern spices. I’ll serve it with rice and top with shredded cheese and black olives.

Tuesday – Turkey Spaghetti
If we still have some turkey left, I’ll be using it to make a spaghetti dish like Chicken Spaghetti.

Wednesday – Cheeseburgers
Cooking cheeseburgers and serving with french fries and green beans.

Thursday – Parmesan Tilapia
This white fish recipe is very quick and easy. The fish is topped with a Parmesan sauce, which also tastes great on vegetables. Serving with broccoli and leftover rice from Monday.

Friday – Chicken Tacos
I’ll cook some shredded Mexican chicken for tacos and serve with chopped lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and black olives. I might even make up a quick batch of guacamole.

Saturday – Leftover Buffet
Anything left in the refrigerator comes out, so everyone can choose their own meal.

Sunday – Out
We have a gift card to use at Maggiano’s. I’ve heard they are very accommodating to the gluten-free diet, but I haven’t tried them yet.

Need more menu ideas?

  • menu-swap-009Manda at Asparagus Thin is hosting the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week with the theme ingredient of cranberries. I don’t cook with cranberries a lot, but I got my chance last week. I tried a cranberry sauce with pomegranate juice and arils. The flavor was great, but the arils were too crunchy for me, so I removed them before serving with turkey on Thanksgiving. I also made an apple crisp and threw in some cranberries to liven it up a little. It was very good. The cranberries added a lot of juice to the dish, and added just enough tanginess to compliment the sweetness of the honeycrisp apples.
  • Laura at hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

Betty Crocker Giveaway!
I’ve got a box of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Dessert Mixes to give away. Check out my review of the mixes, and add your own thoughts.

Comments (5)

This giveaway is now closed.

GF Dessert GiveawayA few months ago, I received a box with all four of Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Dessert Mixes. You did know that Betty Crocker now has Gluten-Free dessert mixes, didn’t you? They started showing up in grocery stores in June (2009). They are shelved with the regular baking mixes in the baking aisle. So, don’t expect to see them on the shelves/aisles with the other gluten-free mixes. You’ll have to go searching through the regular cake mixes in the baking aisle to find them. Or, make sure you enter the giveaway contest below, and maybe you’ll win a box of all four of them. 🙂

I’ve been a little slow to review all of the mixes, but I’ve had fun trying some new recipes with them, too.IMG_4013x The Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix was as good as any brownie mix I’ve ever made, gluten or no gluten. They were just as you would expect them to be — full of rich chocolate flavor, moist, chewy, and wonderful. I actually decided to bake them along with another favorite gluten-free brownie mix, so I could taste them side by side. I couldn’t even tell you the difference. I could tell a slight difference in look. But really, they were both too similar in taste to be able to tell the difference. The big difference was in price. Betty Crocker’s price for GF brownies beat the other GF brand by at least a dollar.

IMG_4123xGluten Free Yellow Cake Mix. I was so happy to see that Betty Crocker was including a yellow cake mix with their line of gluten-free dessert mixes. Over the past four years of being gluten free, I have discovered that a GF yellow cake mix is difficult to find. I have no problem finding a chocolate cake mix, but yellow is another story. I used the BC yellow cake mix to make a batch of cupcakes to have on-hand for surprise celebrations. We had to try a few of them, too, and they were good. They had a very nice, soft and fine texture. My husband and I detected a slight tang? or strange taste, but did not find it offensive at all. My kids didn’t notice anything strange and devoured them right away.

I always keep some cupcakes in the freezer so they’re ready to go for unexpected celebrations. These were great before I froze them, and just as good after I defrosted them. I usually frost the cupcakes, then freeze them in a plastic container. Once they are frozen, I wrap each one with plastic wrap and put them all in a zip-style plastic bag to further seal them. Then, back to the freezer they go. When we need one for a birthday celebration, we pull one out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap while it’s still frozen. Then place it in a plastic container to defrost.IMG_4821x

Recently, I discovered that the Yellow Cake Mix is also great for making Poppy Seed Bread (Cake). Make some up to give to your gluten-free (or not gluten-free) friends for the holidays. It’s quick and easy, and you can freeze them until you’re ready to eat them or give them away. The recipe makes three small/mini bread loaves or one large loaf.

IMG_4340xGluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix. The chocolate cake was really very good. I think it’s better than the yellow cake, but being a chocoholic I may be a bit biased. The cake was moist, and very chocolaty. What’s not to like about that? It makes a very good cake to use for cupcakes and birthday cakes.

Betty Crocker has a page on their website dedicated to recipes using their gluten-free mixes. I tried their recipe for Zucchini-Devil’s Food Snack Cake using their chocolate cake mix. Since the other members of my family don’t care much for walnuts and pecans in food, I replaced the nuts in the streusel topping with mini chocolate chips. I didn’t really care for the topping, but the rest of the family thought it was great. The cake itself was very moist and yummy.

IMG_4079xGluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. To be honest, I can’t even remember ever making cookies from a mix. Even when I was a kid, I always made them from scratch. But, these cookies were good. We ate most of them warm, just out of the oven. I thought they cooked up a little flat, but they were soft and chewy with a little crispiness on the edges, which I like. They also seemed a little grainy, but that didn’t stop us from eating them all. The best part of these cookies is that they were mixed up, baked and ready to eat within 30 minutes! Now that I like! My conclusion? I might keep a box of BC GF Cookie Mix to have on hand for quick snacks or chocolate chip cookie cravings. But, in reality, I would probably make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from scratch.

I also used the cookie mix to try another gluten-free recipe from the Betty Crocker website: Ooey-Gooey Rocky Road Bars. These were definitely ooey, gooey, and rich! They were too difficult to cut while they were warm. If you decide to make these, make sure you leave time to let them cool completely. Or, just grab a spoon and dig in. If I made them again, I would probably try baking them in a 8×8 pan instead of a 13×9, so that the cookie was a little thicker. I would also back off on the amount of chocolate chips (I can’t believe I just wrote that.) and put just enough marshmallows on to cover the top.

So, how do the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Dessert Mixes compare in price? Well, compared to other gluten-free mixes, the cost ($3.99 at our grocery store) is very good. However, don’t compare them with the regular mixes with gluten, which you can probably get for $1.99. In addition, the gluten-free cake mixes only make a one-layer cake. Don’t expect to bake a two-layer birthday cake with only one box, like we used to do with regular cake mixes with gluten.

My final thoughts: The brownie and chocolate cake mixes are excellent, the yellow cake is very good, and the chocolate chip cookies are good. I am happy to have the option of buying gluten-free dessert mixes in the grocery store. I wish they were a little cheaper, but at least they are comparable to prices of other gluten-free mixes. And, I don’t have to pay for shipping! I know I’ll keep some mixes in my pantry, for those times when I need to make a dessert quickly. Have you tried them? What did you think?

I have a box full of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Dessert Mixes to give away to one lucky reader. This Betty Crocker “Sweet Treats” prize pack (pictured at the top) includes one each of all four of the dessert mixes, two Free coupons for any of the varieties, a grocery tote bag, magnetic grocery list note pad, and pen to make shopping easier!

To Enter:

  • Simply leave a comment telling me which product interests you the most and why. Include a quick review of one of the mixes, if you’ve tried it.
  • Get an additional entry by sharing a recipe you made with one of the dessert mixes.
  • Get an additional entry by telling friends about it online. Spread the word about the contest by posting a message on your blog, Twitter, Facebook or email. Then, come back here and leave another comment telling me where you shared it.


  • Leave your comment(s) no later than 11:59 pm (ET) December 11, 2009.
  • Make sure you leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. (Don’t put your email address in the comment, just where it’s asked for in the comment form below.) I won’t share your information with anyone, nor use it to contact you, unless you are the winner.
  • The winner will be chosen using

Good Luck! and Good Baking!

Thanks for all of your entries. The winner (comment #81) has been chosen. This giveaway is now closed.

Comments (116)

IMG_4852xSomething I usually make during the holiday season is Poppy Seed Bread. Although the poppy seed bread is cooked in a small loaf pan, it is really a cake. In my mind it’s too sweet and fine-textured to be considered a bread. But, we slice it like bread, and tradition says we call it bread.

Every year, my mom makes Poppy Seed Bread to give to friends and co-workers for the holidays. I, too, have continued this tradition. This year, rather than making it from scratch, I decided to take the easy way and use Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix. I was a little concerned about the amounts, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. I added some flavorings and poppy seeds to the mix, as well as eggs, milk and oil. It made a very nice poppy seed cake that I then covered with a thin, sweet glaze.

These cakes can be made up in advance and frozen until time to give them away for the holidays. Once I’ve made the cakes and let them cool completely, I wrap each one individually with plastic wrap. Then, I place them in a zip-style plastic bag. Sealed like this, you can keep them in the refrigerator for at least a week, or in the freezer for several weeks. They will defrost quite quickly at room temperature. Or, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.

Poppy Seed Bread Made With Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix


For the Cake:
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
3 eggs
2/3 Cup milk
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring

For the Glaze:
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring


  1. IMG_4813xIn a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add in the remaining cake ingredients (cake mix, milk, oil, poppy seeds, vanilla extract, butter flavoring and almond flavoring). Mix until thoroughly blended.
  2. Pour into greased, small/mini loaf pans. (I use an oil spray, but you can use butter or shortening.)
  3. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350° F.
  4. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  5. IMG_4815xWhile the cakes are cooling, make the glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients and mix well.
  6. Pour the glaze over each cake (still warm in the pan). Let it sit for 5 minutes, then remove and let it cool completely on racks.

Additional Notes:

  • I made three small loaves with this recipe, but probably could’ve made two slightly larger loaves. This recipe will also make one full-size loaf.
  • IMG_4818xI used the small, or sometimes called mini, aluminum foil loaf pans (about 3.5″ x 6″ x 2″h) you find in the grocery stores. I’ve used them over and over, washing each time in the dishwasher. If you’re wanting a more permanent solution, try these Mini Loaf Pans.
  • For presenting these as gifts, I usually keep the bread wrapped in plastic wrap and then tie it with a nice festive ribbon. For more color, you can use colored plastic wrap that is easy to find during the holidays. Sometimes I will also put the bread in a clear plastic gift bag, or treat bag and then tie with a nice ribbon. You can also use colored cellophane to wrap it, and tie with ribbon at both ends. It all just depends on how and when you want to present it.
  • If not giving these away as gifts, put them in the freezer. Then the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas, put them into the refrigerator to defrost overnight. By morning it will be a nice treat to eat for breakfast, or maybe a snack while opening stockings, with a cup of tea.

For more edible gift ideas, be sure to visit Cents To Get Debt Free. I’m a little late to the blog carnival, so there are already plenty of other great ideas for edible gifts. Please be aware that some of the contributions at the carnival may not be gluten-free, but there are still plenty that are GF and other good ideas that could be modified to be GF.


Menu Plan Nov. 23

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ThanksgivingIt’s Thanksgiving Week! I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, and I’m really looking forward to it. For some strange reason, I’m feeling more relaxed and prepared than I usually am when I host a large dinner party. But this is family, and it’s fun. Here’s what we are preparing for the feast:

  • For an appetizer, we’ll be making a family favorite: Pepper Jelly poured over Cream Cheese, and served with gluten-free crackers. (I’ve got Mary’s Gone Crackers and Blue Diamond Nut-Thins on hand.)
  • One roasted 20-pound turkey. Big enough for everyone to take home some leftovers. — I hope. (Check out my post on Gluten-Free Turkeys, if you haven’t already.)
  • If I have time, I’m hoping to make Cranberry Pomegranate sauce with a recipe I found at Coconut & Lime.
  • My husband is making his always-requested Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
  • My mother-in-law is bringing the traditional green Jell-O marshmallow stuff and a roasted vegetable platter of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and more.
  • For dessert, I’m planning to make Apple Crisp, Apple Cranberry Crisp, and my grandmother’s recipe for Pumpkin Pie (with a gluten-free crust, of course).
  • I’ve decided not to make my yummy Broccoli Mushroom Bake casserole for Thanksgiving this time. Partly because I just made it a couple weeks ago for a dinner party, but also because I know there will be more dishes brought by other family members coming, too. I like to give everyone the option to bring their favorites. That eases the cooking burden on me, and also lets everyone contribute to the feast.

Still need ideas for Thanksgiving dinner?

  • Be sure to check out Gluten Free Goodness for the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week. Cheryl has plenty of her own Thanksgiving recipes to share, but there are sure to be even more gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas from other gluten-free bloggers, too.
  • The Holiday Food Fest hosted at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free has plenty of fall and holiday dishes to check out. (Many are gluten-free, but not all.) Check out the roundups of Fall Desserts and Fall Dishes that have been posted.
  • Diane at The Whole Gang has the details about the virtual Thanksgiving Progressive Dinner Party from last week. Several gluten-free bloggers posted some great recipes for the event.

So, that’s Thanksgiving. Here’s what we’ll be eating the rest of the week.

Monday – Pork Cutlets
The last time I made these, I sealed the leftovers and put them in the freezer. Seems like the perfect week to pull them out for a quick meal with sweet potatoes and corn. I’ll use the extra time to get started on the pie crusts, and get the cleaning done for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday – Leftovers
Another easy dinner with leftovers from last week. We’ve got to clear out the refrigerator for all the dishes to come for Thanksgiving! A quick meal so I can make the cranberry sauce and finish making the desserts.

Wednesday – Chicken Tenders
Assuming the leftovers were cleared out on Tuesday, I’ll pull Bell & Evans frozen chicken tenders out of the freezer. We’ll serve them with french fries and green beans. Another quick and easy meal so we have time to make the mashed potatoes and soak the turkey in the brine.

Thursday – Thanksgiving Feast!

Friday – Leftovers!
I’m expecting to have plenty of leftovers to have a second evening of good Thanksgiving food.

Saturday – White Chicken Chili
Time for a break from the turkey. I’m planning to make chili with chicken, white beans, and some southwestern spices.

Sunday – Turkey Spaghetti
If we haven’t eaten all the turkey yet, I’ll be using it to make a spaghetti dish like Chicken Spaghetti.

Need more menu ideas?

  • Laura at hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

Gluten-Free Turkey

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[2013 Update: For an updated list of gluten-free turkeys, check out Gluten-Free Turkey — Menu Plan Nov. 25.]

If you are new to the gluten-free diet, you may not realize that there could be gluten in the frozen turkeys at the grocery store. It is not always clearly marked. I looked at one this week that said it had turkey broth in it. I didn’t do any further research into it, but I’m guessing it had gluten in it. So I passed it up and went for the turkey that clearly said it was gluten-free on the label.

You may want to try a fresh turkey with no additives, but I went with a frozen bird this year. I don’t remember the reasoning, but after doing a little research last year, I took Alton Brown’s advice for a frozen turkey. We used his recipe for Good Eats Roast Turkey last time. It was really good, so we’ll probably use it again.

IMG_4788xSo what frozen turkeys can you buy? You can find a great list of companies that provide gluten-free turkeys at Harris Whole Health. I bought a Shady Brook Farms turkey this year. I decided on the inexpensive (47¢ a lb., on special) option, since I was buying a 20 lb. turkey. When I told my mom I had bought a 20-pound turkey, she was concerned that my roasting pan wouldn’t be big enough. So, I got it out to try it. Well Mom, remember that nice Calphalon Roasting Pan with Rack you bought me a couple years ago? It works great. Thanks!

Butterball turkeys are also gluten-free. Tiffany at Triumph Dining posted a great article about gluten-free turkeys. She confirmed with Butterball that their turkeys are still gluten-free, and found out that their gravy packets are now gluten-free, too! Read her complete post and other Thanksgiving posts at the Triumph Dining Blog.

Want more turkey? Check out these gluten-free recipes and tips at other websites:

Updated list of Gluten-Free Turkeys to Buy in 2013 at Celiac Family
Gluten-Free Turkey for Thanksgiving at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
Special Turkey Breast at Gluten Free Easily
CrockPot Whole Turkey and CrockPot Turkey Breast at A Year of Slow Cooking
Mom’s Roast Turkey at Simply Recipes
Friday Foodie Fix – Turkey at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang
Thanksgiving gluten-free and food allergy tips at Sure Foods Living