Archive for January, 2010


Menu Plan Jan. 11

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menu-swap-009This week, the Gluten-Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Kimberly at Gluten-Free Is Life. She chose Gluten-Free Pizza as the theme for the week. I have to tell you I have tried a lot of gluten-free pizzas: frozen, made with mixes, made from scratch, and at restaurants. A few have been awful, most have been pretty good, but I still haven’t found my favorite.

For frozen pizzas, I have had good luck with Foods by George and Amy’s rice crust pizzas, but my favorite frozen pizza to buy is Glutino’s cheese pizza. It is a small, personal-size pizza to which we add toppings before baking.

And the pizza crust mixes I’ve tried? Chebe, Namaste, Schar Bread Mix, Bob’s Red Mill, and probably some others I can’t remember. If I had to pick my favorite mix, it would probably be Namaste. It has a great flavor and aroma, and is quick and easy to make. One package makes two large pizzas so we can eat one and freeze the other.

I’ve also made pizza crusts from scratch, most recently from Robert Landolfi’s Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook. It was a very good pizza crust. The only downside to the recipe is that there are so many ingredients, it takes longer than I want to spend on making a pizza. Remember when pizza was what you had on nights when you didn’t have the time and energy to cook?

Last week, I tried going to zPizza to try their gluten-free pizza, but was disappointed to find that the restaurant near us had been closed. I was very disappointed with the gluten-free pizza at Uno’s. I should probably give it another try, but the one I tried was cold, and fell apart when I tried to pick it up. So far, my favorite restaurant gf pizza is Godfathers found in the midwest.

MondayWhite, Chicken Chili
Cooking up some chili made with chicken, white beans, chicken broth, etc. Serving with arepas.

Tuesday – Leftovers
I already have too many leftovers in the refrigerator. I think I’m going to have to start eating more leftovers for lunch.

Wednesday – McDonald’s
I’ve promised to take the kids to McDonald’s this week (though I can’t remember why). They always get a Happy Meal with a burger (served without a bun).

Thursday – Rice Bowls
I’ll be using slow-cooked Mexican chicken to top Cilantro Rice, black beans, and green chiles. I’ll garnish with shredded cheese and guacamole.

Friday – Pizza!
I think I’ll try a couple new gluten-free pizza crusts I found at Wegmans: Schar shelf-stable Pizza Crust and Nature’s Hilights frozen pizza crust.

Saturday – Saucy Shrimp
I’ll be making a recipe I got from the Bonefish Grill website. I’ll serve it with leftover Cilantro Rice.

Sunday – Leftovers
More leftovers to eat up.

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.
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Menu Plan Jan. 4, 2010!

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menu-swap-009Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We really had a nice holiday break, but I’m ready to get back on schedule. If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week. Manda at Asparagus Thin is hosting this week with a movie theme. Great idea! I had fun coming up with my movie-themed menu.

MondayLasagne (Movie: Garfield – The Movie)
Using gluten-free pasta, of course, we’ll be having lasagne served with a tossed green salad. I’ll also slice a gluten-free baguette and bake with Weman’s garlic-cheese finishing butter.

Tuesday – Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Slow-cooked pork shoulder shredded and topped with barbecue sauce and a gluten-free bun. Serving with French fries and spicy slaw.

Wednesday – zPizza (Movie: Mystic Pizza. Remember this 1988 movie with Julia Roberts?)
Last week, I got some gift certificates to try zPizza. I’ll pick up a couple gluten-free pizzas after my daughter’s dance class, which happens to be right around the corner from zPizza. How convenient!

Thursday – Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry (Movie: Kung Fu Panda – OK, I know dumplings would’ve been a better choice for this movie, but this is the best I can do this week. If you want to try making your own gluten-free dumplings, try the recipe at Hey, that tastes good!)
Marinating sirloin strips in a Chinese-inspired marinade and stir-frying with broccoli, cabbage, celery, carrots, and any other vegetables I need to cook up. Serving over rice.

Friday – Leftovers
Looks like a good night to clean out the refrigerator and eat up the leftovers.

Saturday – Corn Dogs (aka Nitrate-sicles) (Movie: There’s Something About Mary – I guess we could have “Frank and Beans,” but I’m thinking about the line that Ben Stiller’s character says: “I say they should put more meats on a stick, you know? They got a lot of sweets on sticks–popsicles, fudgesicles, lollipops–but hardly any meat.”)
It’s been a long time since I made gluten-free corn dogs. Maybe the kids will eat them this time.

Sunday – Grilled Steaks
It is very cold and windy here this week, so I will be grilling these indoors on the new Grill Pan I got for Christmas. (Thanks, Dan!) Serving with baked potatoes and a tossed green salad.

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.
Categories : Menu Plan
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Pupusas and Spicy Slaw

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I am joining the blogging event Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger at The Book of Yum again. Last month, I chose two recipes posted by Diane at The Whole Gang to try: Pupusas and Spicy Slaw. If you aren’t familiar with Diane’s blog, you should definitely check it out. She has a wonderful website full of delicious recipes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and often vegetarian and vegan, too. Every week, she posts Friday Foodie Fix, a roundup of recipes of her own and other bloggers who contribute recipes including a specific ingredient. It’s a great way to find a new recipe to try. This year, Diane is also starting a newsletter which is sure to be full of wonderful information to help guide us through a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle. Currently, you can find the sign-up to receive the newsletter by email, on her homepage.

So, what are pupusas? If you read the menu plans that I post weekly, you may have noticed that I occasionally include pupusas for dinner. I first discovered pupusas several years ago while living in the Bay Area in California. They are a flat bread or thick tortilla made from a dough of Masa or a pre-cooked corn meal often used in Latin American cooking. Pupusas orignated in San Salvador, but have gained popularity in the United States. I have purchased pupusas pre-made in grocery stores, but they are not easy to find. I usually purchase the ones that are filled with refried beans and cheese. However, I’ve been wanting to try making them with pork. When Diane, at The Whole Gang, posted her recipe for Pork-filled Pupusas, I knew I had to give them a try. When you order these at a restaurant, they always serve them with a pickled cabbage relish. I had not attempted making the relish or the slaw before because I am not a big fan of cabbage. My husband, however, loves the cabbage dish usually served with pupusas, so I decided to give Diane’s recipe for Spicy Slaw a try, too.

I started working on the meal by making the Spicy Slaw first. I figured it would be good to let the vegetables marinate in the refrigerator while I worked on the pupusas. This was a fabulous recipe, and so easy to make. I love that Diane’s directions for making this was so simple: “Chop and drop, then mix together.  It really is that easy. Just taste it and adjust to fit your taste buds.” With the exception of the toasted onion powder, which I didn’t have, I followed the recipe as written. No adjustments were needed. Because I only used one mild jalapeño, it wasn’t very spicy. Honestly, it really didn’t need the heat. It was full of fresh, strong, wonderful flavors. It complimented the pupusas perfectly, but would also be great to eat anytime by itself. I will be buying and eating more cabbage in the future. 🙂

Next, I worked on the Pork Filling for the pupusas. I wanted to make it before I made up the pupusa dough, so the pork would have time to cool down. I made the pork filling as written in Diane’s recipe. Pupusas are not usually very spicy, and this was no exception. But again, Diane created a recipe that was full of good flavors. I love the addition of the smoked paprika and the Ancho chili powder in the recipe. It worked very well in the pupusas.

Making the pupusas. So here’s where my pupusas may have differed from Diane’s. I didn’t use Maseca Masa for the flour to make the pupusa. I used P.A.N. pre-cooked white corn meal/flour (aka harina PAN). I didn’t have any Maseca, but the P.A.N. package I did have said you could make pupusas with it, so…. I followed the directions on the package: “Pour 2 1/2 cups of lukewarm water in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon salt and slowly add 2 cups of PAN, knead until smooth and form.” It worked out very well, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know how it differs from masa. It was very easy to work with, though as Diane says in her post, it’s best to keep your hands wet so the dough doesn’t get sticky. Stay close to the sink or keep a bowl of water close by. I took a ball of dough and then made an indention in the middle and started to make a cup-shaped round to put the pork in. Then, I folded in the sides to cover the pork, and flattened with my hands making a pancake shape. Then, I put them in a lightly oiled pan on the stove where they cooked over medium heat. Fortunately, my husband was helping with the cooking. So, while I made the pupusas, he tended to the actual cooking in the pan. As Diane suggested in her post, we put the cooked pupusas in the oven to keep them warm while the others cooked.

Eating the pupusas. These were really good eats. Very similar to what we were used to buying in California. They were good as-is, but we did add some queso blanco (Columbian white cheese) to some of them, too. It made a wonderful meal. It’s always nice to have something different to eat in your meal plans to keep it exciting. We made 10 pupusas with the recipe, and 2 or 3 was enough to fill up one person. The kids tried them and thought they were OK, but wouldn’t eat a whole pupusa. (I think we’ll eventually get them to love these as much as we do.)

Leftovers. These also make really good leftovers and are quick to heat up. I had a lot of pork leftover, as well as some slaw. Instead of making more pupusas, I decided to wrap it up in rice papers. (For tips on using rice papers as wraps, check out my posts on sandwich bread alternatives or gluten-free egg rolls.) It made a really nice lunch. We will definitely make these again.

Our thanks to Diane, for sharing her recipes for these and other delicious foods. And, thanks to Sea at The Book of Yum for encouraging us to try recipes from other bloggers!

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