Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chicken Chilli For These Chilly Days With Gluten-free Cornbread

The overnight low forecast for tonight is 5 degrees. Five. Y'all, I don't "do" five degrees.

I know, I know. My northern friends are scoffing at me, rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. Some of them are digging themselves out of ridiculous amounts of snow and heading to work. "It's -21 degrees, and we are going out to build a snowman!"

You know what I do outside when it is -21 degrees? Not a dang thing.

What I do inside, however, is make a huge pot of chili and gluten-free cornbread (along with ample servings of hot tea and chocolate).

I'd love to give you a recipe for my chili (I'm told it is quite good), but I don't think I've ever actually used a recipe. This time I put two cups dried kidney beans in the slow-cooker along with water, crushed tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, diced onion, chili powder, salt, pepper, and three chicken breasts. Don't measure - just use lots of everything! Then I cooked it on low forever. Eventually I used a sturdy pastry cutter to press the chicken until shredded.
But, I DO have a recipe for the cornbread. You don't *have* to use a skillet for this cornbread, but nothing cooks up cornbread like an old fashioned iron skillet.

Skillet Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup sweet (glutinous) white rice flour 1/4 cup tapioca or corn starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1-1/4 cups buttermilk or almond milk 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, add cornmeal, sweet (glutinous) rice flour, tapioca or corn starch, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Stir with a wire whisk to combine. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix well. Pour into a greased iron skillet or 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is slightly browned and firm when touched and the bread begins to pull away from the side of the pan. Turn out onto a serving dish and cut into wedges. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gluten-free Spaghetti: Squash style!

Let me just start by saying, "This was ridiculous."

My family loves spaghetti, and I think there are very few families to whom that statement would not apply. It's like saying, "My family loves pizza," or, "My family loves macaroni and cheese." It's established. Move on.

You know what spaghetti loves (specifically the pasta)? My hips.

So when I made spaghetti the other night, I threw one of these little bad boys in the oven (the spaghetti squash pictured above, in case you aren't following me). It was simple. Twenty to thirty minutes before starting the sauce, I cut the squash long ways, scraped out the seeds, salted it a bit, and put both sides bottom (peel side) down in a casserole dish. I baked it at 350 about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, I prepared my meat, added the pasta sauce (sometimes I make my own - sometimes I do not), and simmered while preparing the gluten-free pasta.

At this point, my squash was just about fully cooked, so I added some sauce into the squash and baked it 15 more minutes to allow the flavor to seep into the squash. When I removed it from the oven, I added the goat cheese.

I was just not expecting it to be that yummy! It was, indeed, ridiculous. In the end I had to let the rest of the "fam" try a bite of mine, and they were all a bit jealous (the kids were jealous of my vegetable version of spaghetti. Did we enter an alternate universe?!). I had a low-carb version of their meal and it was even better!

I will be doing this again and even trying other fillings. I'm thinking a creamy sauce with mushrooms, spinach, and artichoke hearts. Do you have a spaghetti squash recipe that you just *love*?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gluten-free Waffles: The Cardinal Rule (plus the recipe)

Sunday we made "Super Bowl" waffles. No, they weren't shaped like footballs, sea hawks, or patriots. And I didn't fill them with blue or red dye (because, yuck!). It was just Super Bowl Sunday, so they were Super Bowl waffles. My whole family loves them, and if you have a good waffle iron (and a little patience), they can be made with relative ease.

Here's my recipe (from our cookbook):

Perfect Waffles

1 cup sweet (glutinous) rice flour 1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup corn starch

2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar

1 cup milk 1 egg
1/4 cup oil

In a medium mixing bowl, add sweet (glutinous) rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, corn starch, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar. Mix with a wire whisk. Add milk, egg, and oil. Combine well, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the fully heated waffle iron, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat until all of the batter is used.

Butter and serve with maple syrup or honey. Or...

My husband likes to get creative with his waffles adding toppings he has on hand. Sometimes it includes bananas, blueberries, or strawberries, but it *always* includes Sunbutter (or peanut butter if you can keep it around). "Go big or go home!"

I have one cardinal rule when it comes to making waffles, however:

Always make a double (or triple) batch!!!

These waffles are fantastic to pull out of the freezer and pop in your toaster. So freeze two sections per baggie and get them out as needed. A quick breakfast kids will love? Yes. It works for me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Nature's Gluten-free Foods: 5 Ways To Enjoy Fruit Salad

Sometimes we concentrate so hard on figuring out ways to make delicious gluten-free foods and desserts that we forget about the foods that are delicious and gluten-free naturally. Take fruit for instance. Fruit is great without any help, and if you take the time to cut it up and have it available, there are lots of ways to enrich your menu. Here are my suggestions:

1. The Basic: Fruit salad makes a great side to any meal. Just cut up your favorite fruits, toss, and serve in a pretty fruit bowl.

2. The Smoothie: Spoon your fruit salad into the blender with a tablespoon or two of flax seed, which will give you staying power for breakfast or pick you up during that "afternoon slump."

3. The Decadent: Add shredded coconut and a bit of honey, agave, or maple syrup for a healthy dessert or when your kids beg for something sweet.

4. The Whimsical: Drain your fruit well and add to your favorite jello! If it is not already in your fruit salad, a little canned pineapple would be a great addition. You may also need to reduce the water a bit so the jello firms up enough.

5. The Gourmet: How about a fruit salad salad? Add your fruit to watercress (or a mixed lettuce blend) with a handful of raisins along with the following vinaigrette:

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Blueberries fresh (like from your fruit salad) or frozen
2 teaspoons Agave Nectar or Honey
Pinch of Garlic Powder (optional)
Salt to taste

Place it all in a blender, puree, and enjoy!

* Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography:
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