Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup - My Gluten-free Version

In honor of all the people who have been vomiting in my house this week, I am posting my chicken noodle soup recipe. It can be hard to find it gluten-free in a can, and when you do, you are paying several dollars per can!

This is the recipe I always make when anyone gets sick, and we all enjoy it. And it's what's for supper tonight in the Cronic household. Best of all? It is super easy. I used my slow-cooker, but you can make it on your stove top just as easily.

GF Chicken Noodle Soup
3-4 Chicken breasts (or a whole chicken)
4 carrots, chopped in rounds
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped in small pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste

In your slow-cooker or large pot, cook chicken in plenty of water (fill your slow-cooker/pan 1/2 to 2/3 full) with the carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce and cover or cook on high in slow-cooker until chicken is cooked then turn to low. If you want to start it in the morning before work, just cook on low all day. Once the chicken is fully cooked, with a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and allow to cool. Once cool, shred the chicken and add it back to the soup. No more than a half-hour before meal-time, add your gluten-free noodles of choice. I recommend Tinkyada brown rice noodles as they hold together well even under heavy over-cooking.

Left-overs do well in the fridge and warmed to serve as needed. The noodles soak up so much of the water that it will be quite thick by the next day, but we love it that way - makes it more like dumplings.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Frito Snack Mix - Gluten-free, of course

Kids of all ages love a good snack mix - I know I do (36-year-old kid that I am). But we needed a good gluten-free version that our boys could eat and still serve to a willing crowd. We (really just my mom) got the idea from Recipe Girl (click here for the link). We (again just my mom) changed it to suit our gluten-free needs AND tastes, and then my mom took it to a meeting and served it to everyone at large (she did not, of course, apologize its gluten-free-ness). Is it really a surprise that the recipe was universally begged for? Did I mention how smart my mom is?

Here is how "we" made it.

Gluten-free Frito Snack Mix

3 cups Frito's
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Glutino Pretzels
2 cups mixed nuts (in the version picture we just used cashews due to a severe peanut allergy)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lite corn syrup (or brown rice syrup)
2 cups M&Ms

Mix the Frito's, nuts, Rice Chex, and Pretzels and spread on a pan ("we" spread on two pans). In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, butter, and corn syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring for four minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour evenly over the Frito's mixture and bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and turn mixture over before returning to the oven to bake another 8-10 minutes (I actually did help with this step!). If using two pans, be sure to switch the one on top to the bottom.

Spread the mix out on tin foil to cool. Once completely cool, break apart and transfer to a large bowl. Mix in M&Ms. Enjoy!

UPDATE: If you would rather use brown rice syrup (mentioned above), be careful not to overcook! As a matter of fact, shorten the baking time by several minutes, and check it regularly to make sure it is not getting too brown!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Check out this blog - 50 Gluten-free recipes!

I've been a bit busy with my kiddo's this week - we had four days out of school due to snow followed by winter break (and it is 80 degrees outside!!!), but I came across this blog where they had posted the following:

These recipes look quite good. Many of them are obviously gluten-free, but I think it is a great thing to be reminded that there are tons of great gluten-free recipes out there that we don't consider because we are so busy thinking about gluten!! Click on the picture for a visit.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Millet for Breakfast - slow cooker AND gluten-free!

I love slow cooker breakfasts! You wake up, and the question "What's for breakfast?" has already been answered. I have done grits as well as oatmeal and steel-cut oats many times, but I wanted to try a different grain this morning. Here's the recipe, and I thought it was quite good. Very hardy.

This was a little thick, and I adjusted the recipe to add a little more water. I like the consistency to be kind of creamy.

Slow Cooker Date and Pear Millet

1 cup whole millet
4 cups water
8 Medjool dates
2-3 pears

Puree the pears and dates in your blender or food processor (or just chop them if you'd rather). Place in a small-size slow cooker (1.5 quart is a tight squeeze, but whatever size you use, make sure it is at least half full) with the water and millet and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until done.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Great New Pin - Condensed Mushroom Soup - Gluten-free!

So, I was looking at all of the new pins that my friends were pinning on Pinterest, and I came across this recipe for condensed mushroom soup. I haven't tried it yet (partly because I have my own version that I make), but I plan to try this one soon. It looks really, really easy. It takes a food processor, a microwave, and five minutes!! And the best part, evidently unbeknown to the blogger, she made it gluten free! She used corn starch, but I bet potato starch will work as well (if you are allergic/intollerant to corn).

Click on the picture below for the link!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Lasagna With Gluten-Free Noodles

My family loves lasagna, but it can be a rather timely venture. So, I took an old recipe that I used to make and turned it into a gluten-free meal. Everybody was happy whether they eat gluten-free or not. And did I apologize that it was gluten-free? I think you know the answer to that!

One thing you need to know is that this meal has a slightly lower cook time, so if you want to put in on for dinner before you go to work you will need a slow cooker with a time or a heavy-duty lamp timer. Over-cooking this will burn the cheese.

The no-boil lasagna noodles I used turned to mush, but the flavor was amazing! I'm going to try my usual noodles next time. They aren't labeled no-boil, but they tend to do a little better with longer cooking times. I'll let you know how they work out.

Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 Package Gluten-free no boil lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used a 45 oz jar of Ragu traditional)
1 16 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Brown beef or turkey in pan adding a minced garlic clove and salt. Add pasta sauce and set aside (This step can be done the night before and refrigerated for use in the morning). Put tablespoon or two of oil in the bottom of your slow cooker, then layer as follows:

Noodles (break them as needed to create a good layer)
1/3 Sauce/Meat Mixture
1/2 Ricotta cheese
1/2 Parmesan cheese
1/3 mozzarella cheese
1/3 sauce/meat Mixture
1/2 Ricotta cheese
1/2 Parmesan cheese
1/3mozzarella cheese
Sauce/Meat Mixture
1/3 mozzarella cheese

Note: you may want to hold off on the top layer of cheese until an hour before you eat so that it doesn't get quite so brown.

Cook on low setting 5-6 hours. Allow to cool a bit and serve with salad.

Don't feel bad about breaking up those noodles. No one will notice when it is finished!

Before cooking

Finished! Not a beautiful picture, and if you want your cheese a little less brown, try putting on that top layer when there is only an hour left to cook.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One Of Our Favorite Gluten-Free Products: Annie's Microwavable GF Mac & Cheese

This is what it looks like in the box.

This is what it looks like being devoured. Any questions?

The reasons we love it?

1. My kids love mac-n-cheese. Nothing to explain there.

2. It is easy. I'm not one for processed foods, but Annie's does a much better job with their ingredients, which is something this mom really appreciates when it comes to a quick favorite.

3. While it does cost more than the gluten-containing stuff, it is still cost effective to make one serving for the baby (who is almost two - where does time go?!) or quickly make some before school and put in our small thermos container for lunch. In other words, making a whole box of the multi-serving stuff before school not only takes more time, but also leaves left-overs that may or may not be eaten. So I'll take a dollar per serving as opposed to $2.50 or more.

4. Did I mention it is easy?!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

An Article With A Few Gluten-free Suggestions

I came across this article and thought I'd share. Looking for some healthy snacks and meals that are gluten-free AND easy to make? This article lists several ways to use nut butter that are interesting. I love the fresh fruit parfait idea! Click in the picture below.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gluten-Free Banana Oat Muffins - Dairy And Egg Free, too!

I've been getting a lot of requests for easy breakfast recipes, so I'm going to share one of our favorites. This is one of my earliest gluten-free recipes, and it is still a family favorite. Also, it doesn't have any eggs, dairy, and most common allergens, so it is great for those who have multiple allergies.

Oat makes a flour that has a great texture, is mildly sweet, and holds together well. And you cannot beat the fact that this is a fairly easy recipe to put together. You can make it the night before, and it will still be yummy in the morning. Freeze leftovers and warm in the microwave as needed. You really cannot do better than this recipe!

Gluten-free Oat Muffins

2-1/4 cups oat flour (gluten-free)
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup apple or white grape juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 small mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oat flour, tapioca starch and baking powder together with a wire whisk. Add the juice, oil, agave or honey and the mashed bananas. Stir until the flour is wet, but do not over mix. Divide evenly into a greased mini (or regular) muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. Using a fork, turn each of the muffins on their sides to cool. Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies!

National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend Starts Tomorrow!

Can you believe that the Girl Scouts have come out with a gluten-free cookie? Finally, after all these years of guiltily passing by the cookie booth at my local grocery store, and drug store, AND Walmart without buying a box from those sweet girls, I get to buy some Girl Scout cookies!

I grabbed the following from their website. Click it if you want to check the locations they will be sold. I would get there first thing because, while there is no guarantee the gluten free cookie will be sold in your area, there are only a limited amount being sold at all.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gluten-free Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Want to have cake for breakfast and eat it, too?  Then use this recipe. Or you can just have it after dinner for dessert. And if you find yourself eating a piece every time you walk by... Take it away and enjoy it with your friends (without telling them it is gluten-free, of course). Just try not to be angry with whoever has the last piece.

This is yet another recipe that I thought would never be same without gluten. Wow! Was I wrong! Would you believe it is even better???

Don't be put off by the recipe looking a little complicated - it's not much different than the regular recipe except for the combinations of flours. And it is well worth the effort!

Gluten-free Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 cup sugar
1/4 sweet (glutinous) rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Combine sugar, rice flour, sorghum flour and sugar in a small bowl, Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Mix well set aside until the batter is complete.

1 cup potato starch
3/4 cup sweet (glutinous) rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup water
1/2 xanthan gum

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine potato starch, rice flour, sorghum flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt. Stir together with a wire whisk. In a large mixing bowl Combine sugar, eggs and butter and beat until well-combined, Add sour cream and vanilla, then pour in the flour mixture and mix well. To 1/2 cup water, add the xanthan gum and stir. Add the xanthan and water to the batter and stir well. This mixture doesn't need too much beating. Hand mixing works well with this recipe.

Into a greased 9 x 13 pan or baking dish pour the batter. Take the filling by spoonfuls. Top the batter with the filling. The filling will sink into the cake and is better if filling is formed into at least teaspoon-sized pieced and pour all over the top so that each piece with get some of the filling.

Bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is firm on top. Cover the top with glaze. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes until cool enough to cut easily.

Glaze: 2 to 3 cups Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
At least 1/4 cup of milk or almond milk.

Mix the glaze and pour over the of the coffee cake.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Gluten-free Mess

I buy a lot of gluten free flours. I buy them in bulk from, and they come in these nice little boxes that I put on my pantry shelves in neat little rows. When I finish a package of flour, I grab the next in line from its own little place in those neat little rows, and when I grab the last pack, I order a new little box and put the previous little box in the recycling bin.

But this is what I do with the open packages:

I've just been thinking that, I don't know, perhaps I need a bigger container??? Especially since I have a second container that looks just the same?

Or maybe I just need a new system altogether. Does your gluten-free pantry look a little like mine?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Gluten-Free Cheese Cake Squares

I'm not one who cares for box mixes, particularly cakes, but one recipe I used to rely upon before going gluten free was cheese cake squares. From a box of a popular yellow cake mix along with some eggs, butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar comes a dessert so delicious that even my father and husband will fight over the last one. I have thought on a number of occasions that I would come up with the "cake mix" myself to make this treat gluten free. But sometimes it is just nice to grab that box of mix.

Enter Betty Crocker Gluten-Free yellow cake mix. Yes, it is still fairly expensive, and yes, there is not nearly as much flour in the mix (you have to get two boxes), but I really wanted to give it a try with a mix. I think most any gluten-free cake mix would do (actually, I'm quite sure some would be better than others), but just make sure you have at least three cups worth of the cake flour mix.

Anyway, I made that trusty recipe using one and one-half boxes of the Betty Crocker mix, and my family was quite pleased. Here are all the ingredients:

Layer 1
1 and 1/2 Boxes Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix (or your favorite mix - about three cups)
1 stick butter - melted
1 egg
1/4 cup water

Mix these ingredients with spoon. This will be quite dry, so I used my hand to  knead the ingredients together to form a nice ball. Press into bottom of 9x13 baking dish.

Layer 2
1 8oz block cream cheese
2 eggs
1 box powdered sugar

Beat eggs and cream cheese with mixer. Add powdered sugar and beat until there are no lumps. Pour mixture over the first layer. Bake at 300 for about an hour or until top is crusted over and lightly brown. 

Try not to eat too much! 

I would suggest the top being a little more brown, but my boys like it a bit mushy so I took it out of the oven a little early.