Archive for Special Occasion

Feb
16

Gluten-Free Beignet Recipe

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This winter, our family went to the movie theater to watch Disney’s latest animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” We loved the movie. And, although I haven’t spent a lot of time in New Orleans, I was reminded of the fun times and good food I’ve had there in the past. In the movie, there were scenes where Tiana (“the princess”) makes or powders beignets (pronounced ben-YAYs), a kind of doughnut that was made famous by Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. While watching the scenes, I wondered about making these gluten free. Of course, I couldn’t find a gluten-free recipe, so I had to come up with my own.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I’ve never actually eaten a lot of beignets – only when I’ve been at the French Quarter in New Orleans. They really are a delicious treat. If you’re not familiar with them, I would describe them as a square doughnut, or bread dough deep fried into little square pillows, and topped with powdered sugar. They are so yummy! If you aren’t celebrating Mardi Gras with a Gluten-Free King Cake this year, then you should definitely indulge in these little gems.

Gluten-Free Beignet Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup warm water
1/4 Cup sugar
2 tsp yeast
3/4 Cup almond milk (Regular milk should work, too.)
1/2 Cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups brown rice flour (I use Authentic Foods finely ground.)
1 Cup potato starch
1/2 Cup sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 liter vegetable oil for frying beignets
powdered sugar for dusting the beignets after cooking

Directions:

  1. You’ll need a large pot of vegetable oil to fry the beignets. Electric deep fryers are great for keeping the temperature consistent. However, you can use a pot of oil on the stove top, but you’ll need to watch the temperature closely. You should fry the beignets between 360° - 380° F.
  2. Start by combining the yeast with the sugar and the warm water (110° - 115° F is recommended but I don’t usually check the temperature.) in a small bowl. Set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Add in the melted butter, milk, and eggs and mix thoroughly.
  4. Now stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. The dough should start to pull together into a soft ball.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and top with plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″ thick.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, cut the beignets into 2-1/2″ squares. You should be able to make 24 – 30 beignets.
  7. Fry the dough in the heated oil 1 – 3 beignets at a time. Don’t fry too many at once, as it can lower the temperature of the oil too fast. Thus, inhibiting the beignets to puff up like they should. Once the beignets start to brown, flip them over using a slotted spoon or tongs. Once the beignets have been lightly browned on both sides, carefully remove them from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil. The beignets should only take one or two minutes to brown on each side.
  8. Generously top each beignet with powdered sugar and serve while warm.

Additional Notes:

  • These aren’t terribly sweet. Most of the sweetness comes from the powdered sugar, so you can easily adjust it to your liking. You can even drizzle a little honey on it, like my husband did,  if you have a sweet tooth.
  • In case you’re wondering: I didn’t find it necessary to wait and allow the dough to rise. I simply cut them out and fried them up.
  • This dough wasn’t very sticky, so you might be able to roll out the dough without using the parchment paper and plastic wrap, but I find it convenient. A little dusting of potato starch on the counter and rolling pin should work fine.
  • Just roll out the dough once. I tried to re-roll the dough (balled it up and rolled it out again) to cut perfect squares. As a result, the dough fried up flat and a little tougher.
  • Watch the temperature of the oil while frying. If it’s too low, the beignets won’t puff up. If it’s too high, the center won’t cook through and will be a little gummy. If you’re having trouble, try putting two pieces of dough into the oil at a time when it’s at 380° F.
  • Although I don’t believe it’s traditional, I think these would be nice with a little cinnamon mixed into the dough. I might try that next time.
  • In order to save time for breakfast, the traditional meal time to eat these, make up the dough the night before and keep the dough in the refrigerator. In the morning, roll it out, cut it and fry.

Notable Links

  • I did eventually find another recipe for gluten-free beignets. This one by Teri Gruss at About.com uses a cake mix for the flour.
  • There are more tips for cooking beignets at Cafe Du Monde .
  • I’m linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays because I only used 1/4 Cup sugar in the dough and I reduced the lactose content by using almond milk.
  • For more gluten-free recipes, visit The Gluten-Free Homemaker at this week’s edition of “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free?
  • Know a fan of Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”? Here are some coloring/activity pages my daughter has enjoyed.

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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.

Nov
22

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 OrgJunkie.com 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.
Nov
20

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.]

IMG_4787x
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

Sep
02

Avocado Salsa

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IMG_4291x.

This naturally gluten-free recipe has been a family favorite for years. You may call it avocado dip or even avocado pico de gallo, but my family lovingly calls it “Ugly Dip.” Why ugly you ask? I’m not sure, but someone must have thought it was ugly at one time.  This dip is best after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to mingle. Of course, if left too long the pretty green and yellow avocado may start to turn brown. Maybe that’s where the “ugly” title got started. I’ve found that the vinegar in the recipe helps keep it all looking and tasting fresh for at least 24 hours if sealed tight in a plastic container.

It makes a perfect appetizer for a party. Make it the night before, or the morning before the party. It only takes about ten minutes to prepare, seal tightly and place in the refrigerator. A couple hours later, take it out and serve with some tortilla chips.

So, here’s another reason why I love this dip so much: You don’t have to wait for the avocado to be perfectly ripe. This tastes great with an almost ripe avocado. (You know, it has a dark skin, but it’s still firm — not really soft enough for guacamole.) So next time you think about making guacamole, but the avocados are too firm, try this instead. You won’t be disappointed.

Avocado Salsa (aka. Ugly Dip) Recipe

Ingredients:

1 firm avocado, seeded, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped black olives
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped green chiles
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Additional Notes:

  • IMG_4313xThis is a mild dip. It has good flavor, but isn’t spicy. If you prefer something with a little more kick, add one or two finely chopped jalapeños.
  • This is also great served as a pico de gallo. Consider adding it to tacos, salads, or fajitas. Or, as I did here, on top of Cilantro Rice, slow-cooked Mexican Chicken, and shredded cheddar.

Related Links:

More gluten-free appetizer recipes at The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?
More gluten-free Super Bowl Party Foods at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
For football party ideas, check out Celebrate-It!

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