Category Archives: lunch

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.

 

 

Sourdough Recipes

I love sourdough bread. I am from the West Coast. Connection?… yeah probably. The sad thing is that bread of any type made with wheat is off the charts bad for me. Not on the list. Nope. Really can’t go there.

So, I have done without my favorite bread forever years. No one should cry over bread. Life is short. But finding gluten-free alternatives is really hard. There are some brands at the store.. sure, but none of them are “real” bread. Certainly not like the kind I used to bake at home. Sooooo… make my own! It’s a quest adventure! On adventure. ahhhhh.

My wish list for real bread:

  • should be delicious.. not gummy.
  • should smell yummy… not smell like chemical stew.
  • should have a shelf life.. not expire in 15 years.
  • should be chewy.. not fall to pieces when you pick it up.
  • should taste good .. not icky.

So…. I started some sourdough exactly like I used to but used gluten-free flours. It takes a minimum of 3 days to get it really working, but when it does… it’s like magic!

Main tips for the gluten-free sourdough sponge:

  • use filtered water
  • “Feed” the sponge every 12 hours for three days
  • …and be patient.

I left it on the counter for three days in a Ziplock container that had a loosely fitted lid available. Finding the right container is most of my struggle with sourdough. Glass or plastic? Either, just not metal, and nothing with a tight lid.

I started by mixing more GF flour, one cup at a time, into the goo about every 12 hours.

I mixed a large batch of gluten-free flour ahead of time: mixing rice flour, potato starch, some tapioca starch and a little bit of potato flour and just added one cup of the mix at each “feeding”. Ratios vary but, generally I use 1 rice, 1 potato starch,  0.3 tapioca starch and possibly some potato flour, but not very much… 1 Tablespoon per cup of rice flour is plenty.

 

The “rules” about making sourdough vary depending on who you listen to…. so, I added flour and probably 1/2 – 3/4 Cup of lukewarm filtered water each time, depending on how soupy it looked when I stirred it. This is not rocket science. Do what looks like it makes sense to you. It will all work out just fine. Mine usually has the consistency of pancake batter.

My favorite gluten-free sourdough bread recipe so far:

Mix together:

  • 1 Cup of sourdough batter
  • 1 1/2 Cup of warmed (not hot) milk (I used rice milk/hemp milk/coconut milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons of softened butter (substitute 1T palm oil if you are dairy free)

Mix these dry ingredients together and add them to the wet ingredients.

  • 2 T potato FLOUR
  • 1/3 C tapioca starch
  • 1/3 C sweet rice flour
  • 1 C rice flour
  • 1 C + 2 tablespoons potato STARCH  –!!– note: potato starch is not potato flour!!
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 /2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of pixie dust xanthan gum

I used my trusty Kitchenaid stand mixer to mix it all together really, really well and then portioned the dough into baking pans. A regular loaf pan of this dough took about 45 minutes to bake at 400 degrees.  I also tried golf ball sized amounts of dough in a greased muffin tin, and those turn out really good at about 20 minutes, also baked at 400.

smallloaves

Mini hamburger buns! Sliders anyone?

Reports back from everyone so far that tried this recipe baked as mini- loaves and as tiny buns has been very positive. I will be making more of this bread for sure.

pancakesSourdough Pancakes:

  • 2 cups sourdough batter
  • 2 cups milk (coconut/hemp/rice)
  • 2 cups gluten free flour mix (I used 1/2 rice flour and 1/2 potato starch)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tblspn sugar
  • 2 Tblspn oil
  • 2 eggs (replaced with flax and hot water)

This is best when mixed and left to rise for about an hour or so before you make the actual pancakes… but it tastes fine if you make them right away too.

 

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.

 

Eat Local

These peaches are picked locally in the morning and delivered same day. Eat local. It tastes better.

I have been exploring several locally grown vegetable farms and trying them, off and on to see which one suits my schedule. The CSA sounds like a great idea.. but they are usually on a very limited pick up schedule, so just purchasing various weekly available things from the farmer’s market seems to be a better option, for now. There are several options for local food, to purchase in my neighborhood.

  • CSA – several to choose, each with varying delivery/pickup days and locations
  • farmer market- there are three, the big one downtown, the one on Saturday mornings, and the one that is open T-S 9-3 and it’s only 2 miles from my house!
  • farmer roadside: just a pickup or two on the side of the road selling veggies – most days, if you know where to look.
  • Co-op: with a Wednesday afternoon 4-6 delivery site that is kind of close – but you have to order online on Sunday and then remember to go pick it up on Wednesday… not exactly convenient. Delicious.. but not convenient.

So, we have options… delicious options. Here’s to SUMMER!!

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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.

GarChikToes

Yeah, it’s a slow news day. Sorry.

Garlic, chicken and potatoes. Cubed. In a pan. Baked.

GARCHIKTOES

  • 4 garlic pieces, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced and diced
  • 6 potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 5 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 box of Pacific Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 C hemp or coconut milk, whatever is on the shelf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Slice and dice and cube. Layer all the chunky stuff in a pan. Mix the soup and the milk and the seasonings and pour all of that over the top of the chunks and bits.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, covered and another 30 minutes, uncovered. This makes a total of one hour baking time if you are playing along with our home game.

 

 

Pot Roast

I am a crockpot user. It’s true. Really. I love that I can add all sorts of stuff to the pan, cover and walk away. All day. I got stuff to do. Really. Not everyone is in favor of crockpot usage. I hope that changes around here. It’s delicious. Eat it. Who cares (!) how I cooked it. Eat.

Besides, it’s going to snow and we have a tradition around here of making a pot roast dinner to eat after sledding all day. It is highly unlikely that today’s snow will even accumulate… but that it not the point. Snow=pot roast around here.

The last roast that I purchase was from Whole Foods, and it was 100% better than the one I usually get from the generic grocery store down the street. So we have a trend going here.. grass fed roast beast is tastier. Today’s experiment is a roast from a co-op that I am trying out for my summer vegetable source.  They get points for also offering grass fed meats AND points for continuing to deliver over the Winter.

Crockpot Roast Beast

  • 3 lb rump roast
  • 1 onion, chunked and sliced
  • 4 pieces of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup beef broth (made today with hot water and OX brand beef broth flavor packet)
  • 1/4 C salsa
  • 2 T Honey mustard sauce  smeared on the roast (- this is an experiment you might want to ignore this part)
  • 1 T  Montreal steak seasoning

Place all in crockpot. Turn on crockpot. Walk away. Come back when it’s done. In the meantime, watch the snow fall and drink some hot chocolate in celebration of WINTER.