Tag Archives: appetizer

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

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These are healthy, easy, and delicious. My one recommendation would be to eat these with a fork and knife at hand. The tomatoes will be, not mushy, but the texture of a roasted pepper, sort of. I don’t have much to say about these except when can I make tem next?!

Ingredients:

  • Tomato, sliced 1/4-1/3 inch thick
  • Parmesan
  • Pesto -OR- Basil

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees and cover a baking sheet/pan with tin foil.
  • Slice tomatoes (make a few, or a lot) and place each slice on your pan as you go.
  • Spread a small dollop of pesto on each tomato (about 2 tsp worth) -OR- place a couple fresh basil leaves on the tomato
  • Then sprinkle some parmesan on each tomato, to taste. At least cover tomato with a thin layer. I spread cheese to edges and put enough to cover tomato.
  • Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
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Baked Potato Fries

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French fries have always been a weakness of mine. I will say that I hate fast food, including their fries. I doubt fast food is even gluten free, because of all the cross-contamination, but that doesn’t even matter since I prefer to avoid it at all costs. When I did eat it, it always gave me the worst stomach ache afterwards. Anyway, I do love french fries if they have been done well. I will not spurn restaurant french fries (unless they contain gluten, of course, and even then it’s tough) or the frozen kind that you can get at the grocery store. But my favorite style/type of french fries are definitely the homemade ones. They are better for you because there is not nearly as much oil/grease involved (at least the way I do it) and they taste SO much better!

For these delicious gluten free and homemade french fries, all you need are potatoes, olive oil, and a little salt. You use 1 large potato per person. Now, you can cut the potatoes lengthwise, for traditional-style fries, or you can can slice them, to make round fries like I like to do. These are great because they are so easy and make a delicious lunch and/or dinner side, but they also make amazing hash browns for breakfast or brunch. The french fries are also great for a snack, if eaten in smaller portions. Mm-mm.

However, this post is not exactly about fries. Sort of, almost, but not quite. Because, in addition to the methods above, you can also bake your potato the way I did tonight. The way that this post is mainly about. The way that is actually the easiest and simplest of the three methods. The title of this post is “Baked Potato Fries.” And that is more literal than you’d think, because with this delicious side, you don’t cut all the way to make totally separate fries. You slice the potato into thin pieces, like you would normally, but stop short before cutting all the way through.

Potatoes, no matter how you cook them, are always great meal accompaniments. Tonight, we had one of my favorite things: salmon. Baked salmon, veggies, and the baked potato fries. For the veggies, we sautéed mushrooms, squash, and green beans with a little bacon (similar to my veggie dinner). SO. GOOD. Now for the potato recipe…

Baked Potato Fries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice each potato into thin pieces, like you would normally, but stop short before cutting all the way through, so the potato is still combined, but sliced. See the picture above and below for a better reference. Next, put the potatoes into a glass or ceramic oven-safe dish and lightly drizzle olive oil over each potato, so that it goes between the slices and on the top/sides. Lastly, sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt over each potato. Put the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out and use a spoon to reapply the leaked oil and juices. Put dish back in oven and bake an additional 40 minutes. Serve almost immediately (will be hot).

Baked Fries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet or pan with tin foil (grease lightly). Slice/cut potatoes to desired style and size. Line the pan with a single layer of your potatoes. Bake potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool a little before serving, because they will be HOT, but don’t wait too long because they also cool fast.

Skillet Fries

You can also cook your fries on the stove top. Just lightly grease a pan with olive oil and preheat pan to medium high heat. Then, just add as many potatoes that will fit in a single layer ont the pan. Let them cook for about 2 minutes and then flip them all over. They should be a golden brown color. Once finished, remove fries to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of any excess oil. Let the fries cool a little before serving, because they will be HOT!

NOTE: I actually made these yesterday morning, for my frittata. I also have to admit that not all the fries, or hash browns, made it into the frittata, although they all made it to my stomach!

Get through those midmorning/midday cravings

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Usually a good breakfast and lunch are enough to keep me going, and if I have a sudden craving, it passes within minutes. Sometimes, however, I have cravings in between meals that just won’t go away. When this happens, I try not to munch on unhealthy snack foods. I decided to compile a simple list of my go-to foods when I just want a snack. If I mention cheese, I usually refer to a couple bites of cottage cheese.

  • Gluten free Chex Mix
  • Some fruit, fresh or dried (with cheese)
    • apple/orange slices, any berries, grapes, clementine/tangerine, etc
  • Veggies with hummus, peanut/almond butter, cottage cheese, or plain!
    • celery, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, pepper, etc
  • A small spoonful of peanut/almond butter
  • Various trail mixes (see below)
  • A few cheese or peanut/almond butter crackers (with fruit or veggies)
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • A little plain popcorn (or lightly salted)
  • A rice cake with peanut/almond butter
  • Yogurt-covered raisins

Below are also some quick homemade trail mix ideas (I have not tried them all myself). You can add or take away from any to reach your perfect snack mix. A general mix is a combination of: a grain (like Chex), nuts, seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels. My mixes include almonds, rice chex, smartfood/plain popcorn, Glutino pretzels. Then I love adding seeds, dried fruit, and other types of nuts whenever they are available. A last note: dried fruits include raisins, apple chips, banana chips, etc.

  • Rice chex, smart food, and almonds
  • Rice chex, pretzels, raisins, nuts
  • Popcorn, pretzels, nuts
  • Rice chex, raisins, almonds, dried apple chips
  • Sunflower seeds, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruit

For a touch of sweetness, you can also add some M ‘n Ms or chocolate chips. Just make sure they are gluten free, because candy like M ‘n Ms are often processed in the same facilities as wheat/gluten.

Not only are all these great go-to snacks in case of food cravings, but they are also awesome snacks in general. They are delicious things to munch on for people of ALL ages as well. Pack them for lunch, add them to a breakfast, or serve them as appetizers (depending on which one you choose, of course!).

If your cravings or rumblies continue, drink WATER. Fill up a water bottle or a large glass to the top and take a big sip whenever thoughts of food take over your mind. Just drink a lot. If the water trick does not work, take a walk or go for a jog. Exercise actually suppresses your appetite, and even just a 15-minute walk should do the trick. If exercise is not your thing, do something. Occupy your mind, your hands. Play with your kids, play an active Wii game, read a book your really in to, do some yard work, run those errands you’ve been putting off, whatever. Distract yourself. Finally, GUM. Gum is my savior. My sugar-free, no artifiacial flavor gum is one of the most wonderfully simple appetite suppressers out there. My favorite is Orbit spearmint, and it actually does work. Gum also helps me focus and concentrate on tasks at hand.

My last note is this: do not think too much about food, if you’re dieting or in general. If you are tempted to grab a snack, or if you are standing in front of your pantry tempted to eat something, just ask yourself a simple question. Am I hungry? Are you hungry? If not, walk away. If you are, get something healthy, like from the list above.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks Using Rice Chex Bread Crumbs

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Today I was deciding which recipe I should make next. I saw mozzarella sticks on my Recipe Index, and knew that would have to be it. I apologize, because that was probably one of the first recipes I have wanted to make, and it has been on my to-do list for far too long.

Quick back story: I decided to try these after making a favorite dish of mine, chicken parmesan, which uses my Rice Chex bread crumbs. After my discovery of these simple gluten free bread crumbs, I thought of all the recipes I could make gluten free. My mouth simply started watering when I thought of gluten free mozzarella sticks. I have only had mozzarella sticks one other time, and those were in Mexico before my gluten free days. In other words, I had a lot to live up to. I went about making these like I would the parmesan chicken, except I omitted the parmesan, of course. The only additional ingredient was the flour to ensure everything would stick better, because I didn’t want the cheese leaking all over the place! For the egg mixture, I just made that like I would a breakfast egg: 1 egg to 1 tbsp milk.

My excitement at making these delicious gluten free treats was temporarily short-lived when I discovered that I had no cheese sticks. However, I did have a giant block of mozzarella cheese staring me in the face. Why no? I cut some strips from the block and evened them out to the proper size. You can make however many of these you want, as long as you have room. The amount in the ingredients is half the amount of mozzarella sticks you will have. 16 was a good amount for me. I take that back…my family LOVED these way too much–I should have made more! Even though they weren’t perfect, they were delicious! And I think if I make these again, I will use my cut-cheese-sticks-from-a-block method, because that worked just fine and it’s cheaper.

Like I said, these were delicious! They turned out beautifully…sort of. Some of them did leak, but others were perfect. I sort of cheated and only left the precooked mozzarella sticks in the freezer for 20 minutes, and I don’t think that was long enough. The mozzarella sticks didn’t leak a ton, but that was partially due to me taking them out of the oven at only 5 minutes, so the rice chex bread crumbs didn’t brown as much as they could have. I do think that the 5 extra minutes would’ve been enough, but 30 might be the magic number. They were close…notice in the picture above how the top row is perfect, the middle row is pretty darn good, and the major leakage is in the bottom. I don’t know if this is coincidence, or if it has to do with the position in the freezer. And even though the rice chex bread crumbs weren’t as toasted as they could have been, they were definitely cooked and the cheese sticks were SO melty! I tried to get a photo of how much the cheese stretched, but none of them turned out.

I definitely hope to make these again! They are great little appetizers, but make sure to make a LOT because they will be gone in seconds!

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces string cheese, mozzarella
  • 3-4 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 cups Rice Chex, NOT crushed

Instructions:

  • Cut string cheese pieces in half (for 16 pieces).
  • Place flour in a small bowl and mix/whisk eggs and milk in a separate, small bowl.
  • Crush rice chex thoroughly for rice chex bread crumbs (as fine as you can make it) and combine with basil in a third bowl (I used a deep plate so it would be easier to roll the cheese sticks).
  • Lastly, cover a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly grease with oil or Pam.
  • Individually, roll each mozzarella stick in flour, dip in egg mixture, and carefully and completely roll in Rice Chex crumbs.
  • Carefully put each mozzarella stick on the greased baking sheet. Continue until all mozzarella sticks are prepared and on the pan.
  • Put tray in freezer (make sure it’s flat!) for about 25 minutes (do NOT skip this step)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • After about 25 minutes of freezer time, place pan in oven (no higher than middle rack) and cook for about 5-8 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Quick and Easy Veggie Snacks

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My family doesn’t buy bagged salad, we purchase the bags of four lettuce bunches, for lack of a better term. They are lettuce leaves. Large, long, wide lettuce leaves. They are great for delicious lettuce wraps (love!), and you can tear it into smaller pieces for a salad. I also love to get a couple leaves and make a yummy and healthy snack. I love to put a small dollop of cottage cheese in a large piece of lettuce to have a tasty snack to munch on.

Besides lettuce snacks, I also love carrots and peanut butter. That has always been one of my favorite snacks! You can also have some carrots and hummus, but I do not prefer the taste of hummus. There is also celery and peanut butter, as well as celery and hummus, so why not have a mix of celery and carrot snacks? They are so delicious! Just grab a plate, pile on some veggies (carrots, celery, pepper, cherry tomatoes, etc), add some sides (peanut butter, hummus, ranch dressing) and you have a wonderful veggie platter! This is also great for parties and appetizers.

Next there is pepper. Red, orange, yellow, green pepper. I honestly love it plain, but pepper is another veggie to eat with a little hummus. Even if I did like hummus, I think I would still prefer to eat pepper plain, because it has such a great taste on its own. Vegetables like carrots and celery need a little something to add to their taste, but pepper has enough flavor to stand alone.

I hope you go and munch on some of these healthy and delicious snacks, because they are great for you and great tasting!

Brazilian Cheese Rolls

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The pizza was amazing, and now it is the rolls’ turn to impress me. A while back I made an amazing cheese pizza crust (<–original post), literally cheese crust, that I found on Gluten Free Gobsmacked. The original recipe was actually meant for Brazilian cheese rolls, or Pao de Quejo, which this post is about. I have been so excited and impatient to try it out, and I was finally able to make them tonight for dinner.

  

We had chicken, green beans, and these delicious cheese rolls. I have cooked for my family before, but this is the first time it has been an official meal item. Most of the time, my family only has small portions or a tasting, and I have lots of left overs that last through the week. But this time I made them for dinner. I was excited. It made my cooking official. Real. Big. I knew they like most of what I make, but this time it was different. Their opinion of the cheese bread was more important. So I crossed my fingers as dinner was served.

Everyone LOVED them (minus my little brother who will basically only eat chicken nuggets and cheese sandwiches). I got extremely satisfying reactions, many “Mmm”s and “Oh my God!” I think this recipe is definitely a keeper. It made 7 rolls, but I made some pretty big without realizing how much they would puff, so you could probably get 8 out of the batter. With four of us eating, we had a couple left over, so I am already looking forward to tomorrow! These cheese rolls are beyond delicious. They have a slightly crunchy outside and are soft, chewy, and delectable inside. They are extremely cheesy, so much so that at first, when I began making them, I was a little skeptical, but after taking my first bite, any previous doubts vanished from my mind. They are perfect. The only change I made was to use basil instead of dill and chives. Perfect. Delicious.

I know my cheese crust pizza post has this recipe on it, but I’m reposting the recipe because these are rolls, not pizza, and I didn’t include the pizza part in this post.

Ingredients:

  • 1+1/4 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) melted butter
  • 2 tsp dill
  • 2 tsp dried chives (I used 1/2 tbsp basil leaves in place of dill and chives)

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  • Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well (I  used a hand mixer–just make sure all ingredients are totally combined).
  • Form into balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and flatten slightly (makes 6-8).
  • Place on tin foil on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve warm.

Note: Sorry the last photo is so dark…and not very good. I only included it because I thought it gave a nice idea of how big the rolls are.

Apple Almond Salad

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Salads are a healthy and delicious way to end the day. There are so many variations, and you can make it a meal or snack. It is so easy to experiment with salads and create recipes. Salad recipes are also quite lenient, and you can add and withdraw anything you desire.

This recipe is one of my more frequent salads. I love nuts, especially almonds, just as a quick snack, but they are also so delicious in salads. The apples add great flavor, a nice sweet side, to the salad. I realize the amounts are pretty vague, but I figured with a salad recipe, you don’t need to get too specific. This is just a general idea, but you can use however much of each thing you want. I honestly don’t have anything to add to that, other than this is a fantastic salad!

The last thing I will add is look out for a bunch of new recipes coming soon…I plan on getting busy in the kitchen this weekend! I am especially excited to try either Brazilian cheese rolls, popovers, or pesto pasta/chicken. So keep a look out for some tasty recipes.

Ingredients:

  • Enough fresh lettuce to fill a large salad bowl (or 1 bagged salad)
  • 1/2-1 apple, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup almonds (or large handful)
  • A handful of pine nuts
  • A small handful of grapes, cut  in half
  • 1-2 tbsp goat cheese (and/or parmesan)
  • 1-2 pieces of GF bread’s worth of homemade croutons

Instructions:

  • Put lettuce in a large bowl, add nuts and apples slices, and mix until evenly distributed. Sprinkle goat cheese over top along with any desired GF dressing and add croutons.
  • Enjoy!

Simple Salad

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Salads are great as appetizers, a main course, or a snack to munch on. I love them–caesar salads especially. But I also love throwing everything healthy and green in my fridge together. Salads are so easy and delicious, not to mention healthy. One of favorite snacks is actually a dozen cucumber slices lightly salted. Cucumbers specifically are a fave of mine. There is nothing better than sitting down and just snacking, but not feeling bad about it afterwards.

Anyway, here is my typical salad:

  • Fresh lettuce leaves (not bagged salad)
  • Red and yellow pepper
  • Cucumbers
  • Some sort of nut (almonds or pecans)
  • GF homemade crutons
  • *Some ingredients I’ve used in the past, but just not regularly include: apples, avocado, parmesan cheese, and goat cheese, but you can add any additional items you want
  • *Chicken, cold or heated (omit for vegetarian option)
  • NOTE: I’ve never liked dressings, so going GF wasn’t hard there, but I know that there are some GF dressings out there

I plan on making one of these tomorrow, so I will post a picture then.