Archive for What’s for Dinner?


Better Burgers Gluten Free

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We eat hamburgers in my house almost weekly. It’s my daughter’s dinner request every night. Most nights we eat them just as patties, no bun. Sometimes we buy some frozen gluten-free rolls or buns at the grocery store. But a couple weeks ago I decided to try something new and exciting. Earlier this month I saw two great-looking recipes on Gluten Free Gobsmacked: Cheese Bread Rolls (aka Pao de chejo and Chebe bread) and Jalapeño-Popper Dip. They looked like a great way to change up our hamburger dinners.

And, since Book of Yum is hosting another Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger this month, I decided to use those two recipes to share with you. I’m happy to share my good results with you, and introduce a gluten-free blogger you may not have checked out yet. Gluten Free Gobsmacked is a blog that has been around for a while. Like so many other celiacs, the author Kate suffered years of illness and health problems before finally being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She began the website as a way to share recipes and connect with family and friends. And the rest of us out here in cyber land have gotten to benefit from her knowledge and recipes. I certainly enjoyed them this month.

The Cheese Bread was so much easier to make than I thought it would be. It really was fairly quick to mix up and bake in the oven (maybe 30 minutes total). In my attempt to make it, I followed the recipe as close as I could. For the cheese I used about 2/3 cup shredded cheddar, 2/3 cup shredded provolone, and 2/3 grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses. For the herbs I used finely chopped fresh chives and dried dill. Because I was hoping to use these as hamburger buns, I made them a little larger and flattened them a little more than Kate did in her post. I was able to make nine of them with the recipe, and baked them on a Silicone Baking Mat for about 10  minutes. They smelled fabulous and tasted just as good. My husband ate one of the rolls as they were cooling down on racks. He said he was just going to have a taste, but it was so good had to finish it off. 🙂 The very airy texture of them worked well as hamburger buns. They don’t rise or expand much during baking, so make them the size and shape you want them before baking. We used two rolls for each hamburger. We also found that they stayed fresh on the counter (in a sealed container) for a couple days. To eat them with dinner later that week, we just popped them into the toaster oven to warm them up. We will definitely make these again!

So, to make our hamburger night even better, I also made Kate’s Jalapeño-Popper Dip. This recipe I didn’t follow as strictly as I should have, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients and had to make some adjustments. I didn’t have the Pasilla Chile Powder, so I used 2 tsp of Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder. I also didn’t have dried green onion, so instead finely chopped up a few fresh green onions. We really enjoyed the fresh onion flavor. It was delicious. It works great as a dip, but I thought it was so good I slathered a thick layer of it on my burger. Not that’s a better burger! 🙂 I had a lot of the dip leftover, so since then I’ve also used it on steamed vegetables. It was great and would make a great dip to make for a Super Bowl Party, too!

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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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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.

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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