Category Archives: dinner

Noodly-Noodles For Real

 

 

 

gfnoodlesWhen I switched to gluten free noodles, there were lots of trial and error meals with noodles that were all substandard. I bought rice noodles all over town, any store that had anything that was safe to cook, we tried. More often than not, we wondered why we thought we needed noodles back in our diets. We finally settled on the Tinkyada brand for anything “noodle”, and they are okay. They cook up well and hold their shapes and do whatever job a noodle needs to do… and frankly I am happy to have the option. It’s beginning to look a lot like mac and cheese season, and we need noodles!! But, they are still different enough that the gluten eaters in the house (that I still have to cook for) won’t touch the rice noodles. Well, they will eat them, they just aren’t real happy about the experience. Whatever.

Enter the Barilla brand gluten free pasta box into the noodle challenge.

Done. These are great noodles. They cook and look and taste just like “real” pasta. AND!!! The resident gluten eater said that if I hadn’t told him they were GF, that he wouldn’t have been able to tell.

Done. We have a new pasta brand!!! In. The. House. yay

 

 

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Garlic Toast

Not really toast… but look out! Remember that cinnamon roll dough? Yeah, the one that makes cinnamon rolls or pizza rolls? yeah, well …if you substitute the plain butter for GARLIC infused butter.. and sub the brown sugar with parmesan cheese? Oh. my. goodness. Garlic rolls to drool over!!!! Really yummy with spaghetti. Crazy easy and they freeze and reheat really well, too.

Sourdough Garlic rolls 

  • one recipe of sourdough rolls
  • 3 Tblspoons butter, melted
  • 5 cloves of garlic – browned in the butter
  • 2/3 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/c C grated colby-jack cheese

Roll and let rest for 30 minutes, then bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until browned to your liking.

What to do with BBEEAANNSZ

I was recently given some dried beans by an elderly neighbor. She only reheats her prepackaged food these days, and thought I might want a freakishly large package of dried mixed beans for something, …”since you cook”.

I have been in the habit of buying canned beans, but there is no way that I *CAN’T* process my own beans… I just don’t, or more precisely, haven’t lately.

Oh fine. So I cooked the beans. Stop the presses! Alert the media! Cooking your own beans is cheaper, to be sure. And not difficult by any stretch of the imagination. And they are certainly gluten free… so I cooked them.

So…how do you cook beans from scratch? – Answer? Slowly. Yes, it takes hours. And yes, buying them already cooked in a can that I only have to open and dump into a recipe is easier. I hate to admit it, but these tasted better.

  • 4 Cups of dried beans in 16 cups of water (I used filtered water) in a large enameled cast iron dutch oven. Heavy duty.
  • Let them boil for 2 minutes and then take off the heat- cover and let sit one hour.
  • DRAIN THE WATER.
  • Refill the water and simmer the beans for 2 hours, or until tender. Don’t over think this part. They are done when they are done.  This 4 cups of dried beans resulted in 12 Cups of cooked and ready to use beans for my recipes. Awesome. Thifty. Delicious.

After they had cooled off, I packaged them in 2 cup containers with a little bit of the cooking water. Some in the fridge to use right away in a delicious recipe, and some in the freezer to use later.

So far, we have had “COWBOY BEANS” and chili. mmmm …winter food.

COWBOY BEANS

Cook:

  • 1/2 lb of Jimmy Dean sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped and cooked with the sausage

Add:

  • 4 Cups of pre-cooked beans (drained)
  • 1 can of Bush’s baked beans (Do not drain)

Mix togther and pour over the top:

  • 1/4 Cup warm water
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 2 T thai chili sauce
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder

Bake at 300 for 1 hour covered, then another 45 minutes to an hour uncovered.

Serve as a main dish, a side dish, or as a nacho topping with corn chips. These were also good as part of enchiladas. And going by the lack of any leftovers… everyone liked it.  Useful dish to be sure.

 

 

Play Practice Chicken

We are currently involved in a play production…and we are busy every night for weeks. Who isn’t busy? So, having dinner cooked for me when I get home tonight will be a real treat. THANK YOU, CROCKPOT!!!! I rarely use this contraption because I would rather cook in other ways, but when it’s useful? oh yeah.

Most of the time I set it on “high”, and get whatever it is cooked and done in 3 or 4 hours.. but today, we are taking the slow “low” temp approach and it will be slowly stewing itself all afternoon and be done when I get home late tonight.

I decided to make “something” in the crockpot for tonight, but really had to use up some things from the fridge… creative economy and “Whatchagot stew”. I found some chicken and carrots and potatoes… mmmmm maybe over noodles? The sauce that it’s cooking in should make a nice gravy if I thicken it just a little bit at the end of the cooking time.

YAY dinner!

Crockpot Chicken For Busy Days

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders, slightly defrosted and cubed.
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups of baby carrots (leftovers from the back of the  fridge-because no one will eat them otherwise…drat.)
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • one clove of garlic – peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 C chicken broth (more or less what was left in the fridge from something else I cooked last week) ymmv
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 Cup gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Worchestershire sauce

Layer it all into a large crockpot. Set it to “low” and go do your thing. Come back in 6-8 hours. Make some noodles and thicken the gravy. Should be delicious.

I  use the Tinkyada brand noodles. Can’t decide if the penne or the spiral noodles will be better for this. hmmmm. Whichever, it’s still easy dinner.

 

 

Sourdough Madness Continues

smallloaves pancakesbiscuits… check

small loaves of bread… check

pancakes… check

 

YumYum Spareribs

Drat. They liked it so much that there are no pictures to post.  But it was beautiful and very tasty. I don’t know if they actually licked the plates clean…(I did run them through the dishwasher before I put them back in the cupboard), but there weren’t any leftovers. Forget about that it was also completely gluten free. What? yes. Healthy, and safe to eat, and tasty. What? yes. Funny how that works out.

When I cook, I typically use a recipe. I have a ton of cookbooks and recipe files and usually just go with whatever it says to do. Tra-la. But now and then, I get a wild idea with ingredients that I find at the store and tonight’s dinner was just toss it in a bowl and see what happens. I purposefully started with no recipe and hoped for the best. Some sort of chef channeling thing probably. I might be watching too much Food Network programming…. what? yes. Here’s a close approximate of what happened.

YumYum Spareribs Stirfry

Mix in a bowl:

  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 2 T worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 C gluten free tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic toes,  minced
  • 1 small onion, minced

Pour  this mix over the spareribs in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Uncover and turn the meat over. Spoon sauce over meat and leave uncovered. Return pan to the oven, and bake another 15 minutes.

Slice the meat,  and add to stir-fry pan. Add one entire bag of pre-sliced coleslaw mix – (cabbage and carrots),  and spoon some of the sauce from the baking pan over all of that to season and help steam the veggies, being sure to include the onions and garlic from the baking pan in with the cabbage. Stir until the cabbage is steamed to your liking. Serve over rice. We like Jasmine rice the best… make the kind you like.

Other veggies to mix into all of this would be great, too. The farmer’s market’s are bursting with amazing veggies this week. Throw some in and see what happens!

Tomatoes, squash, broccoli, peas, green beans or some sort of rice noodle will probably be in the mix next time I make this. It was pretty tasty, and it might make a good taco filling too. Next time, I will double the portions and hopefully have some left overs!

 

Freezer Chicken Soup

Sometimes, I go through the freezer and find a package of this and a package of that and it all sounds like it might go together in some sort of fashion. Sometimes it’s about trying to make something tasty, and sometimes it’s about not having to go to the store for dinner. Eating-down the pantry is an art. What good is storing food if you never eat it? Srsly.

This current concoction of soup, an actual vat of chickeny goodness – will last me until Christmas. And it’s pretty tasty.

Here’s news: I hate canned soup. Oh sure, it’s really handy and easy to obtain at the store, also good for emergency situations (hello? Hurricanes?) … but I really hate canned soup. I used to *LOVE* (repeat love)  a can of BeanofBacon soup from Campbell’s … but checking the list of Campbell’s gluten free products here, shows me that there are no BeanofBacon lunches in my immediate future. In fact, there are no soups on that list at all…. READ the labels on each can before you buy anything from Campbell’s. Not worth the disaster of being fed silent gluten because “soup should be safe”. Leave no stone unturned when detecting safe food. It’s worth the extra half of a minute to read lables.

There is a list of other companies and their GF soup lists here in case you do want to look for some hints about what canned soup options that are safe to eat.

Here’s what I cobbled together today from the freezer, it’s real delicious.

Freezer Chicken Soup

  • 1/2 a bag of frozen Broccoli -*the other 1/2 I left in the freezer for later.
  • 1/2 a can of corn -* left the other 1/2 with the broccoli in the freezer for more soup, later
  • 1/2  a bag of frozen peas -*again, left the other 1/2 for later
  • 1/2 C cooked rice (that I found in the freezer)
  • 2 C cooked beans mix: dark red, light red, cranberry beans,  navy, pinto, and lentils (left over from the beans I cooked this week for a pot of chili)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 carrots -peeled and chopped
  • 1 package of chicken tenders, cubed and baked
  • 1 package of spicy chicken sausage- sliced
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • poultry seasoning
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 2 vegetable soup boullion cubes
  • 1 box of chicken stock
  • handful of fresh cilantro- chopped

It’s real tasty.

 

Coast-to-Coast Pork

When I was newly married, a billion years more than 30 years ago, we lived in the middle of nowhere at least 35 miles (in any direction) from any other restaurant except for the Dairy Queen, which was, of course, delightful.. but sometimes you need some Chinese take-out or other “real food”. Anyway, there was a Chinese restaurant on the way to visit our families, which made a nice stop for supper on the way home, or for special occasions. They made a BBQ pork appetizer plate that was pretty delicious and, that by one recent account- was not available anywhere between the West Coast and Vermont, so her mother had some mailed. To Vermont. From Oregon. Delicious. Legendary BBQ Pork.

Well fine. How did they do it? I have never had it anywhere else. I remember it being somewhat dry as far as the meat went, but the sauce was amazing. What on earth did they do to make it like that? Well, here is a pretty darn good replica of how to make it for yourself. Really. It turns out to not be all that hard, and since I made this batch today for less than a dollar a serving???, that restaurant was making a FORTUNE on this stuff. Too bad they didn’t pay their taxes with all that money, because they went out of business.

Legendary BBQ Pork 

  • 24 oz pork loin, separated into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 C Gluten-Free Tamari Soy sauce
  • 1/8 C Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion sliced

Blend all these together and marinate the pork loin pieces at room temperature for about an hour. Place pork on a wire baking rack over a baking pan. Bake at 350, turning and basting with the leftover marinade every ten minutes for 1/2 an hour, then let bake another 1/2 hour. Remove and let the meat rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve with rice. The fresh pickle recipe is delicious with this as well.

The great thing about this recipe is that the leftovers are even better in a bento box with some rice for lunch the next day. Ask me how I know this.

Perfect Pickle

I like pickles. It’s true. And making them has always been fun, so why not change it up a bit and switch out some of the cucumbers for some carrots?

Sure. Why not?

Pickled Vegetables

  • Step one: make the pickle
  • Step two cut up all the veggies
  • Step three: blanch the veggies
  • Step four: pack in a jar and cover with pickle juice.

Pickle Mix: Stir together and bring to a boil:

1 1/2 C water

3 C sugar

3 C vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Take off the heat and let cool.

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Cut up lots of veggies into matchstick size pieces, enough to fill a quart jar or two.

  • Carrots
  • celery
  • green onion
  • cucumbers
  • napa cabbage -rolled and sliced
  • chinese radish

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Bring enough water to cover the veggies to a boil. Turn off the heat, add veggies for two minutes. Drain veggies and let cool.

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Pack veggies into clean jars. Cover with the pickle liquid. Add 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator up to a week.

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Helpful hint:

Adding a spoonful of veggies and pickle juice to a small serving of rice for lunch in a bento is quite nice.

Joe Medina

The Medina Ballroom is host to a legendary flea market every Sunday. We enjoy ALL of the various things about this event, (did I mention that it’s held EVERY Sunday?!) …including the meat raffle (yes, they raffle off meat), all of the vendors of antiques, various veggies that are available, fishing equipment and left overs from garage sales. It’s always different, and always the same. 

The Hamel Lions Club sponsors it and provides some concessions at the food trailer.

(some info HERE) 

The one thing that we LOVE about the food trailer is the $2 sloppy joes. Extremely satisfying on a cold and windy slightly rainy Sunday morning. But, alas, they not only serve it on a wheat bun, but the meat mix has wheat sauce. Can’t have that. Soooooooo, had to recreate that one.

We did. It’s delicious.

-Udi’s has the gluten-free hamburger bun thing down. Get some at Lund’s – they hide them in the freezer section.

Then make the meat mix to glop on top of your toasted hamburger bun. Really. It’s fantastic. I am not saying to make this at home and put it in your pocket on the way to the Ballroom, ya know, so that you can munch on it while you cruise around pricing beanie babies, or whatever, but let’s just say that I know it’s that delicious. In fact, I am munching on one right now as I type this. So yummy.

Medina Meat Mix (Gluten Free version of perfection)

Brown these together:

  • 1 lb. of lean hamburger (I used Laura’s super lean)
  • 1 onion- chopped

Mix these things together and add to the browned meat.

  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (although you can skip this and mince up real garlic with the onion, too)

While the meat and onions are doing their thing, I just mix all the rest of it in a bowl and then pour it over the meat. Continue to stir it for about three minutes or so and spoon the mixture over toasted buns.

Perfect.