Caprese Pasta (with/without Grilled chicken)

I saw this recipe on Foodgawker. I browse the pictures every day looking for inspiration in the kitchen. :) 

I rarely eat pasta, but this sounded so good and I love to order Caprese Salads when we are at restaurants so I knew the flavors would be great! 

To make gluten free, just sub gluten free pasta of your choice.  I like Tinkyada Pasta Joy Brown Rice pastas. Also make sure your jarred tomato sauce is gluten free (most are). 

The smell of this sauce simmering on the stove is wonderful. And when you start chopping the basil you will surely get excited to combine these wonderful flavors! The original recipe uses grilled chicken in it. I only had a tiny bit of chicken on hand so I just used what I had. It would be delicious without any meat but for sure the men in our family prefer some meat in their pasta! :)

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Caprese Pasta (with/without Grilled Chicken)

Yields about 6 servings

Recipe from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:
2 medium chicken breast halves, grilled and diced into strips (optional)
9 oz Rigatoni or Penne pasta (I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy Brown Rice pasta)
2 cups fire roasted tomato pasta sauce (I used Classico)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup finely grated Romano Cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional, for added heat)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
1 pint grape tomatoes, diced into halves
12 oz fresh mozzarella, grated** (I used bagged shredded mozzarella)
16 fresh Basil leaves, chopped chiffonade style

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta to al dente according to directions listed on package. While pasta is boiling, in a separate medium saucepan over medium low heat, heat tomato pasta sauce, heavy cream, Romano cheese, garlic, optional red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts. 
Drain cooked pasta well, return pasta to pot. Add in grilled diced chicken, grape tomatoes, half of the mozzarella and half of the basil ribbons, then pour warm sauce over mixture. Toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into a greased casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and cook pasta uncovered for about 20 – 25 minutes until cheese is golden. Serve warm.

Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

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I have tried many many gluten free brownie recipes.  I have tried multiple combinations of flours, using beans as a base (as in the beloved Black Bean Chocolate Cake recipe), no flour at all, etc . . . And none of them have been to my liking. Until now. While browsing foodgawker, I stumbled upon a flourless brownie recipe that uses a combination of corn starch and cocoa powder in place of the flour. I have been using corn starch in other recipes as a wheat flour replacement so that sounded genious to me.  But I still didn’t anticipate results this good. They are shockingly like gluten-filled brownies. The texture is fudgy and dense, which, in my opinion, is how a brownie should be! They have that nice crackly top and they don’t completely fall apart when cut. Woo hoo!

You really should make these for your family. Let the kids help. . . cause what is more fun that making brownies??? 

I put a combination of walnuts and pecans in ours.  But you can certainly add any filler you like.  I think dried cranberries or flaked coconut or even some chocolate chips or M&M’s would be great stirred into the batter. Or, of course, you can just leave them plain.

The recipe from The Comfort of Cooking says to use parchment paper in the pan.  Instead, I just buttered my pan and then dusted it with cocoa powder.  I did not have any trouble getting them out of the pan. Also, the original recipe says to us an 8×8 square pan. I couldn’t find mine since we are in the middle of moving so I used a 8×11 rectangular pan and I’m so glad I did. It made thick brownies and I still got 12 large brownies out of it.

Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

*recipe from The Comfort of Cooking

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan

1/3 cup cornstarch, spooned and leveled

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon table salt

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (or any other filler you like)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang on two sides (Buttering underneath the parchment will help it lay flat on the baking pan).

I buttered and dusted my pan with cocoa  and did not use parchment. They came out fine. I also used a 8×11 rectangular pan and still had 12 very thick, good sized brownies.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large microwaveable bowl, microwave butter and chocolate in 20-second increments, stirring between, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs one at a time, until combined. Add cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack or trivet. Using paper overhang, lift brownies out of pan and cut into 16 squares.

NOTE:  If you want to cut brownies with clean lines and not have them falling apart, USE A PLASTIC KNIFE. (First let them cool completely) I know that sounds crazy, but the brownies stick to metal knives.  The plastic knife slides through them easily with minimal sticking and minimal destruction. :)

Store in an airtight container, up to 3 days

Enjoy!

Kickin’ Cashew Chicken

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I have been looking for some new recipes to try. We have been in quite a rut food-wise and I was hoping for some new flavor profiles to enter our doors.

Then I saw this recipe on Foodgawker. It looked relatively healthy, simple, and naturally gluten free so I decided to give it a shot. It was definitely a winner in our house! Even the kids loved it.I love the flavors and the added crunch of cashews thrown on each portion at the end. Delicious!

It is not really very spicy, though the name seems to imply that. I actually added a few dashes of red pepper at the end because we love spicy around here.

I am pretty sure you will love this!

KICKIN’ CASHEW CHICKEN (Naturally Gluten Free)

*recipe courtesy of “Pinch of Yum”

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used 3 TBSP because I wanted a stronger tomato flavor and color)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (I used nonfat Greek)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used Olive Oil)
  • 1 lb. cubed raw chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Peel and quarter the onions. In a food processor, process the onion pieces for about 1 minute or until a smooth puree forms. Add the next 8 ingredients (through oil) to the onion mixture and process for another 1-2 minutes.
  2. In a heavy pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the spice mixture from the food processor into the pan and fry for 2 minutes. The lightly cooked spices will start to give off a nice aroma.
  3. Add the cubed chicken breast, half of the cilantro, and the golden raisins. Stir-fry for another 1 minute.
  4. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with remaining cilantro or cashew pieces.
Notes from “Pinch of Yum”:

I like the sauce to have some texture so I don’t process it all the way (check out the texture in the pictures).

I love cilantro and spices, and these amounts reflect my preferences. If you’re hesitant, reduce the amounts. (And actually, the sauce is not all that spicy. There are lots of flavorful spices, but it’s not firey-hot-get-me-a-glass-of-water spicy.)

For a more veggie friendly dish, add broccoli, peppers, potatoes, or peas!

 

ENJOY!

 

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I have fallen off the food blogging bandwagon a bit. My apologies. It is not because I haven’t been cooking or haven’t had any yummy recipes to share. I actually have a list of things I want to post here. But life got busy and we had our 4th baby 8 weeks ago.  .  . another little GIRL! We are thrilled with the new addition to our family. Mary is a joy already and her sister and brothers are completely delighted with her. Here is a picture of her for those of you who care about such things.

One might ask how many pound cake recipes is allowable on a single food blog? I’m figuring you can’t have too many yummy pound cake recipes. :)  So, when I saw this pound cake featured on Foodgawker, I was eager to try my hand at making it gluten free. And it has been a successful recipe over and over again now. I first made it for our monthly church potluck and it was quickly devoured by everyone, no one guessing it didn’t contain any gluten.  And might I add what a pretty cake it is when it is covered with a white glaze and topped with fresh cut strawberries? Its a real beauty.

Don’t be scared by the long baking time listed on the recipe. It makes for a really moist cake with a wonderful classic pound cake crust on the outside. Of course, keep an eye on it, checking periodically. Everyone’s oven is different. If yours starts to get too dark on top, just cover it loosely with some foil.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake (Original recipe from HERE)

Makes 12 servings
Ingredients
1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 cups white rice flour

2/3 cup tapioca flour

1/3 cup corn starch

1 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 300°F.

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Spoon batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan, and let cook completely on wire rack.

Cover with glaze from the original recipe Here and top with fresh strawberries.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (gluten free or regular)

With cooler weather hitting recently, the official beginning of fall, and my stomach returning to normal, I couldn’t wait to get some canned pumpkin and bake these pumpkin muffins. My whole family loves them and no one ever guesses they are gluten free.  Of course, they are easy to make regular. All you do is omit the gluten free flours and xanthan gum and sub all purpose. The spice combinations are spot on.  I actually doubled the amount of cinnamon that the original recipe calls for, as well as doubled the nutmeg and cloves.

My kids gobble these up so fast! I’m always shocked when we run out so quickly. I also love that they are not overly sweet. Don’t get my wrong. They are sweet as any muffin should be, but not so sweet that they should be called a cupcake. The original recipe calls for raisins or currants, but I never include those. Occasionally, though, I will throw in a few handfulls of chopped pecans, which adds great texture and a bit of protein.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

original recipe from here:

  • 3  cups Jeanine’s GF flour blend (from the art of gluten free baking. com).  I have also used 3 cups of Pamela’s GF baking mix with equally great results. If you use Pamela’s, omit the baking powder and soda.

To make this flour blend, combine 1 1/4 cups white  rice flour, 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour, 1 cup tapioca flour, 1 cup sweet rice flour, and a little less than 2 tsp xanthan gum.  I mix mine in a zip lock bag and then store it in that bag for future use.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Cinnamon/Sugar mixture for sprinkling over the top of each muffin before baking

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine canola oil, eggs, and pumpkin in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in currants and/or pecans if desired.

Spoon into prepared muffins tins. You can either use muffin paper liners or just spray with non stick spray. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over the top of each muffin.

Bake for approximately 12-15 min until tops are puffed up, lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Enjoy!

Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

Pie Crust and Quiche

Pie crust? Really? Gluten Free? Yep. I first made it back in the summer, following instructions from “The Art of Gluten free Baking”.  She has so many fabulous recipes over there so go have a look around. I am using her flour blend more and more and try to always keep it on hand.

It is:

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1 1/4 cups white rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1 cup sweet rice flour

scant 2 tsp xanthan gum

Anyway, I first made crostatas with fresh blackberries and peaches (and unfortunately didn’t get a picture because we ate them so fast!). They were fantastic. The crust was indeed, as Jeanne claims, flakey and delicate. I was very surprised.

I didn’t have anything prepared for dinner last night and dinner time was quickly approaching. A quick preview of the fridge led me to decide upon quiche with the new gluten free crust recipe. The beauty of the crust recipe is that it makes enough for 2 9inch pies/quiches so I now have an extra in the fridge just chillin’ waiting on me to figure out what I want to make next.

When I was in Peru this summer with my brother and sis in law (who is also celiac) I made several batches of this pie dough and froze it in discs for her to pull out when needed. It thaws great and you still get delicious results.

So, here is the crust recipes from Jeanne at Art of Gluten Free Baking: (my notes in italics)

2 1/3 C (350g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 TBL granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 C (8oz; 230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces (you can also use lard)
1 TBL vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
5-7 TBL cold water
extra tapioca flour for rolling out

Method:

Place flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Mix together with a spoon until combined.  Add butter pieces to the dry ingredients mixture. With fingers, start rubbing together the butter and the dry ingredients. This will take some time. Do this until the resulting mixture looks like wet sand mixed with pebbles.  I like to do this by hand to get a feel for the dough.  You may also do this initial mixing with a food processor if you’d like.

Add the vinegar and rub into the mixture.  Add water a TBL at a time, rubbing into the mixture. You want to add enough to create a dough that holds together well, but isn’t wet. I pretty consistently use about 6 TBSP of the water, but just go slowly and get the feel for your dough.

Prepare your rolling surface. I like to roll mine out on a large cutting board b/c it makes for an easy transfer to the pie plate later.   Sprinkle tapioca flour over your rolling surface. Also sprinkle flour over your rolling pin.  When the disks are chilled, remove the first disk of dough from the fridge and place on your prepared rolling surface and sprinkle top of dough with tapioca flour.  The key to successfully rolling out gluten-free pie dough is to go slow. When I say slow, I mean SLOW. And with a light touch. If your dough starts cracking, slow down and don’t press so hard with your rolling pin.  With your rolling pin, carefully and patiently roll out the dough into a 12″ circle (it should be at least 3″ larger than the top of your pie pan). If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, add more tapioca flour.

NOTE: the dough should be cool but not too cold. It should roll fairly easily and should not break while you’re rolling it. If it does break a bit, don’t worry–breaks are easily fixed by smoothing the dough over the breaks.  If it seems too cold and you’re really having to work hard to roll it and it’s breaking a lot, step back and let it warm up a little bit before you continue. Alternately, if the dough is floppy and seems to be “sweating,” it is too warm and should be refrigerated for awhile longer.

If you have rolled your dough onto a surface like a cutting board like me you can now easily get it into the pie plate. Turn your pie plate upside down onto the center of your now rolled out circle. carefully invert your cutting board and pie plate.  Remove the cutting board and gently ease the dough into the plate so that it is all along the bottom and up the sides.  Trim any excess off.

If that doesn’t make sense you can very easily follow Jeanne’s instructions on her site. She offers great step by step pictures.

Fill it however you’d like. You can go savory like a quiche or sweet is always good too. I have made apple pie, individual crostatas, and now quiche. All yummy! This time I made the whole dough recipe in my food processor which was super easy and I thought just as good.

For my quiche recipe I just used what I had on hand.

Ham and Spinach Quiche:

6 large eggs

1 cup shredded sharp cheese

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1 cup chopped ham

2 TSP spicy brown mustard

1 tsp hot sauce

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour into prepared pie crust.

Bake at 375 for approximately 40-50 minutes, until browned on top and a knife inserted comes out clean. If it starts to get too brown on top cover with foil until finished cooking.

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

Well, I haven’t been posting much in the last few months.  And there actually is a good excuse.  I am pregnant with our 4th child  and these first 15 weeks have been quite difficult. I have hardly been able to eat, much less cook and blog about new recipes. Even the thought of cooking made me queasy.  So, in the last week, it has been exciting to feel some legitimate hunger pangs and start to long for good food again. And with the ushering in of fall’s cooler weather, my desire to cook and bake has come strong… as in I have made 4 batches of pumpkin muffins, huge pots of hot soup, lasagna, shortbread cookies, and a lemon pound cake all in a matter of days. HA! Don’t worry, I didn’t eat all that. :)

I came across a similar shortbread recipe a while back and remember them being very good.  I saw these posted on foodgawker today  and I decided to give them a try.  The results are perfectly pleasing. I love how simple these are to make.  Now, I do realize the last recipe I posted was also for a shortbread cookie. These are similar in flavor and texture, but this recipe held it’s shape a little better.  Both are great though. 

The recipe came from glutenfreebaking.com .  It calls for vanilla extract but I used almond extract because that sounded delicious to me. I think they would also be great with a hint of lemon and maybe some fresh lemon zest. Lots of possibilities.

The recipe on that site gives several things/tips that are important to know when making these.

1. Don’t overmix. Shortbread cookies are dense affairs. Over-mixing the butter causes their texture to become too light and crumbly. When preparing the dough, don’t cream the butter and sugar so much that it becomes light and fluffy.

2. Take your time. Since these cookies contain no eggs, there’s no moisture to coax the ingredients quickly into a dough. Once the dry ingredients are added to the butter and sugar paste, it takes a little while for a dough to form. At first the dough seems incredibly sandy–you might even worry that it’s not coming together—don’t fret like I did the first time I made a batch! The dough does come together after two or three minutes of mixing. Don’t rush it and don’t give up. The wait’s worth it.

3. Re-rolling is welcome. With no gluten to make things tough, you can roll and re-roll this dough until every last piece is used. Since these cookies are so rich, I make about two dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies from one batch, gathering and re-rolling the dough as needed to get this many cookies.

Ok, so here is the recipe.

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

*from Glutenfreebaking.com

1 1/3 cups white rice flour

1/2 cup sweet rice flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp xanthan gum (prevents cookies from spreading)

14 TBSP butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavoring of your choice.  I used almond)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, whisk together flours and cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment , cream the butter and sugar together, just until it forms a thick paste, about 30 seconds.  Remember, don’t beat it for long.  Add the dry ingredients. Turn mixer on an mix for about 3 minutes. I had to periodically stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Mix until a dough forms.

2. Lightly flour your countertop with white rice flour. Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a disk. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut using round cookie cutter. I used a 2 inch round cutter. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart and chill in fridge for at least 10 min. This will also help them retain their shape and not spread too thin.

3. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown and fragrant. Surprisingly (to me), this took about 25-30 min. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 10 min before removing them. I speak from experience that they will break apart if you don’t wait. Trust me, they are worth waiting for. :)

4. Enjoy!!

And if you are really wanting a decadent treat, after they have cooled, dip them in chocolate! I just melted some dark chocolate chips, dipped some of the cookies halfway into it, and put them on parchment paper to let the chocolate set.  Seriously, it’s delicious.

Stay tuned for a wonderful pumpkin muffin recipe!!