Tag Archives: dinner

Mini Casseroles

Standard

If you like to cook, then a muffin tin is a necessity in your kitchen, I think. You can make virtually anything! I have made pancakes, omelets, cheese muffins, corn muffins, popovers, pancake popovers, and now mini casseroles. Mini meals, I have discovered, are simply wonderful! They are great for portion tracking, experimenting with recipes, and having pre-made service for family and guests.

Note that the measurements (excepting the rice) may not be totally accurate because this was not an official recipe. It was just something I whipped together and then decided to blog about. But it was SO delicious! I just looked in the fridge, got out leftovers, and got cooking.

Another note: Leftovers are GREAT! Use them! Besides the eggs and milk, obviously, everything I used in this recipe is leftover. (I actually recommend leftover rice/broccoli)

Lastly, this recipe made 4 1/2 – 5 mini casseroles, due to my uneven distribution of egg. In the future, I think I will add a third egg and more filling. Play around with the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1/4-1/3 cup rice, cooked
  • 1/4-1/2 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • chicken, shredded/cut up
  • 2 eggs
  • milk, for eggs
  • shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prep a muffin tin with Pam or non-stick spray
  • Mix rice, broccoli, and chicken together in a small bowl
  • Whisk eggs and milk together in a separate bowl
  • Add equal amounts of filling to 5 muffin cups (or more, depending on how much ingredients you use)
  • Next, pour equal amounts of egg mixture into each muffin cup
  • Bake for 10-13 minutes
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

(Leftover mini casseroles are great, too!)

Advertisements

My Grandmother’s Baked Mac and Cheese

Standard

I have tried to eat healthier lately, but I have been saving and waiting for a moment to indulge in one of my favorite treats: macaroni and cheese. Not only is this recipe absolutely delicious, it is my grandmother’s recipe and one of my new favorites!

While it is a bit lengthy to prepare, it is so easy and uses common ingredients. There is no flour or tedious cheese sauce preparation involved whatsoever. It is just a super cheesy, easy, baked dish. I can’t get over how amazing it is. It was difficult to stop eating, even once I was full. I just wanted to eat the whole dish! Luckily I have quite a bit of leftovers.

I made a lot because it was for three people, and there were still TONS of leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz Elbow Macaroni, gluten free
  • 24 oz Cottage Cheese
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 4 cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • GF Bread Crumbs or Parmesan Cheese, grated (to add a thin layer on top)

Instructions;

  • Cook Pasta according to package directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix the cottage cheese, sour cream, cheddar, and eggs in a large bowl
  • Add to pasta and mix until well combined/even
  • Put mac and cheese into a greased casserole dish and top with your choice of GF bread crumbs or Parmesan
  • Bake Mac and Cheese for about 35 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes or so
  • Enjoy!

Mini Margaritas

Standard

Is it news that I love pizza? Well last night I wanted something pretty light, but also easy and quick. I was sort of in the mood for pizza so I decided to make some tortilla pizzas. Now, I use to use La Tortilla Factory, but honestly, I didn’t love it. The taste wasn’t my favorite and they were just way too big. I had been looking out for Mission corn tortillas, what I have wanted all along but have never been able to find. Until about a week ago. At 55 calories each they are perfect. So, last night. I made two little pizzas. Margarita pizzas, my favorite kind after cheese and pepperoni! And instead of using basil (mine was dead, sadly), I used some homemade pesto sauce. These pizzas are so easy to make and SO quick to cook! It’s effortless to spread a little pesto, cut a few mozzarella slices and tomatoes, and stick them in the toaster or oven for 10 minutes.

These were delicious! I will definitely be making them again soon! I haven’t made something that good in a while. Just a simple margarita. A simple tortilla pizza. Quick, easy, 4-ingredient meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small Mission corn tortillas
  • 1-2 tbsp pesto, per tortilla (I love homemade)
  • 2-4 cherry tomatoes, sliced/diced
  • Mozzarella, thinly sliced or shredded, to cover tortillas with a single layer (about a half-inch from edge)

Instructions:

  • Spread pesto out on each tortilla in a thin layer, about a half-inch from the edge.
  • Top with your choice of mozzarella.
  • According to taste/love of tomatoes, cut desired amount and spread evenly on top.
  • Place the pizzas in a toaster for about 8-12 minutes and let cool before cutting.

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

Standard

Last night my mom and I discovered a new recipe through Pinterest, a great way to discover new things…especially food! There are tons of gluten free recipes, including broccoli-parmesan fritters, my new favorite food. These things were amazing! I have never tasted anything like them and they were simply out-of-this-world delicious! These fritters, by Smitten Kitchen, are so easy and simple to make. Quick and rewarding, I wish I could make these every day. I already love broccoli, and my family has made a recipe in the past involving broccoli and cheese (which I really should post because it is delicious!), so I had high expectations for this recipe.

I cut the broccoli as dictated and let my mom steam it. Meanwhile, I mixed the other ingredients while the greens cooked. My favorite part, honestly? Mashing everything together before frying. Now, for this, we were not entirely sure how much oil to use. Some people have a layer of oil covering the pan, but if have not already noticed, I like to keep things healthier if and whenever possible. So we just had a little oil, which mostly gathered at the edges of the pan we were using, but also left a thin film in the center.

So finally, we compressed and patted our…dough? Mixture? Whatever you want to call it, into little patties. We got 7 good-sized fritters out of this recipe, each being about 3-4 inches or so in diameter, and about 1/2-1 inch thick. Once all the fritters were finished, and a beautiful golden-brown, I could hardly wait to try them. But first we lined the fritters up on a paper towel-lined plate and let them cool for just a minute. Finally I just couldn’t stand it. Abandoning any sort of utensils, I picked one up and took a tentative bite. I think I went to Heaven. It almost melted in my mouth (not actually). I didn’t want that first bite to end. I wanted to keep chewing. In short, the broccoli parmesan fritters were delicious, to say the least.

It was just my mom and I eating them, too, so we each got three (saving one for the next day) and then had some smoked salmon on the side. I was so full by the end of dinner. My mom ate her salmon with sour cream, and I had some cottage cheese on the side instead. We both agreed that this would definitely become a more common meal (which means I will hopefully have some pictures up soon), so I am simply dying to devour these once more!

Get the recipe for these delicious broccoli parmesan fritters now at Smitten Kitchen!

ALSO: Why just broccoli and parmesan? There are so many fritter options! I really want to experiment some with these delicious treats…potatoes, cauliflower, squash, zucchini…who knows what else!

Baked Potato Fries

Standard

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!

Fajita or Quesadilla on the Panini Maker

Standard

When I think quesadilla, I always imagine a cheese quesadilla, with the cheese oozing out and stretching when I bite into it. Because other than adding some chicken occasionally, the only quesadillas I eat are cheese. When I think of fajitas, I imagine stuffing the tortillas with as much cheese, vegetables, chicken, and other fillings as possible without breaking the tortilla or making it explode. In conclusion: I consider anything more than cheese, and maybe some chicken, in tortillas a fajita. They really are very similar. Let me add in here that you can make this completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken.

Last night I had fajitas for dinner, and for lunch today I made a delicious quesadilla, both on my family’s Panini maker. The great thing about a Panini maker is you can cook almost anything on it, and quickly too. It doesn’t alter the taste of whatever you are cooking, or if it does, not in a negative way. I have made quesadillas and fajitas, but I have also cooked grilled cheeses, sandwiches, steak, and am planning on experimenting with other types of foods and even batters on it.

For the tortilla, I always use La Tortilla Factory. I have looked for the Mission Corn Tortillas in the past, but none of my stores ever have them. I’m okay with that, however, because the La Tortilla Factory tortillas are so delicious. The only downside (if it’s even a bad thing) is they are HUGE. I mean, they are about 12 inches in diameter or so, so I usually only use them in halves. That is actually a positive thing, though, because each package only comes with 6 tortillas. Oh well, they are very yummy, and they don’t break or crumble. La Tortilla Factory tortillas are just like wheat tortillas, with none of the expected gluten free issues. You can roll them with no problems.

One thing I absolutely love about fajitas and quesadillas is they are SO easy and quick, even without a Panini maker. They are also great for getting rid of left overs.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tortillas, gluten free (I use La Tortilla Factory)
  • Cheese
  • Pepper/onion mix, sliced (I like to leave the onions out)
  • Chicken, precooked
  • Any additional veggies/fillings you desire
  • Olive oil (to brush on top of tortillas)
  • Sour cream, salsa, guacamole or other fajita toppings ( I actually use cottage cheese because it is healthier than sour cream an d, in my opinion, tastier)

Instructions:

  • Place a large frying pan on the stove top and dump in your veggies and chicken. Turn the temperature to about medium high. Once veggies and chicken begin to sizzle, stir them around until the fajita mixture is done.
  • Meanwhile, plug in your Panini maker or prepare another pan to cook your fajita.
  • Once fillings are finished cooking, put your desired amount (not too much or the tortillas might get soggy or break) on the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over and lightly cover the top with olive oil. Place fajita on the Panini maker and quickly brush a small amount of olive oil on the other side (If you are using two tortillas, put the fillings on one and cover with the other, and make sure to put a little olive oil on both sides).
  • Cook fajita for about 2 minutes.
  • Cut into slices, fold, or roll and ENJOY.

FOR QUESADILLA: Just cover one tortilla well with a single but generous layer of cheese, about an inch from the edges (don’t need more than that), and place second tortilla on top (or break one in half). Then cook the same way as the fajita on the Panini maker. If you do not have a Panini maker, you can also bake your quesadilla (which I actually like better if I have the time). That was my first original recipe, because it is so easy. You can find that post HERE.

Make Your Own Polenta!

Standard

I love polenta, but the last time I went to the grocery store, they were out. I wondered if I could make it myself. Being the amateur chef I am, I didn’t realize that all I needed was salt, water, and cornmeal! Polenta is great because you can enjoy it as a delicious, warm breakfast, a lunch side, or an appetizer at dinner. I went through a few sites until I had discerned the most common way to prepare polenta. In the end, I chose this website as my guide to making homemade polenta. After looking at about 5 websites, it became clear that you need a 4 parts water to 1 part cornmeal. I modified this recipe, using only 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of cornmeal, just to try it out. I really only used the website linked above for the instructions, which were also a mutual thing among most of the websites I saw. I will definitely make this polenta as soon as possible, because I am simply dying to try it out.

Another website I stumbled across that I thought was interesting uses the same ingredients, but instructs you how to make microwave polenta! I tried this polenta recipe out first to see if it worked, because I don’t know about you, but I would love to have some delicious polenta in just a couple of minutes as opposed to 30 or so. But I also made this quick recipe first because I was craving a warm breakfast, and something new. I had been anxious to try some homemade polenta, so I did! I must say, I did not use any olive oil (an optional ingredient) and was totally satisfied. I also cooked the polenta for 30 extra seconds. After it was finished cooking, I tried my homemade polenta and LOVED it! I used 1/4 cup cornmeal, so my polenta breakfast was only 110 calories (plus a few extras from some delectable blackberries I had on the side), but it still made a LOT – a sufficient breakfast. Polenta is pretty similar to grits, but I think polenta has more flavor and a better texture – more creamy and thick.

Polenta at its base ingredients (just water, cornmeal, and salt) is delicious and not bland or boring, but about halfway through, I wondered if I could make it better by adding a little cheese, or maybe a splash of milk, as the website suggests. I decided to at least try it, since I was coming to think of this as a polenta experiment. I ended up adding about 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 large handful (I have fairly small hands) of cheese. The polenta was PERFECT. I will add a tiny bit of milk and some cheese every time from now on!

Homemade Pasta

Standard

This recipe was inspired by Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom homemade pasta recipe. I did not have all the ingredients I needed, so I made a couple of modifications. However, Heidi’s recipe is also egg free, and so I want to try her gluten free, egg free pasta recipe as well sometime.

My recipe is an egg pasta recipe. I didn’t think 1 egg was enough, and three was definitely too many, so I decided to try using 2. I stuck with 1 cup of flour–the usual. I thought about reducing the amount of xanthan gum, but the pasta photo on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom looked so perfect, I decided against it. Note in the ingredients, tapioca flour is the same thing as tapioca starch. This recipe was so fun and enjoyable to make. It started like any other recipe: mixing the ingredients together. I don’t like to use lots of extra equipment or ingredients, but I thought that for a pasta recipe, my hand mixer was necessary. Pasta is a food that needs to be especially well blended and smooth. After the ingredients were mixed, I rolled the pasta dough out. I knew the pasta would need to be thin, so I took this step seriously. Then I cut it. This is the great part about homemade pasta. You can make any kind you want! Cut it into squares for lasagna, or mini squares for ravioli, thin noodles, thick noodles, you name it. I cannot tell you the names of all these pasta types, because I am no expert.

Right when I took my pasta out of the bowl to roll out, I know I had a problem. It was sticky. Way too sticky. I tried adding more flour, but that did nothing. Then I tried adding a little oil. Perfection. Oil is the key. So in the ingredients, the last item I put was simply oil. What I did was put a splash of olive oil in a bowl and used as needed.

This pasta was SO delicious, although quite a pain to make. Because of that second part, I doubt I will make this again, or soon. But the taste and texture were wonderful, and I’m glad I tried this recipe out. I might still try Heidi’s recipe, but I’m not sure.

My Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour (aka starch)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  • Fill a medium pot with about 4 cups of water.
  • Blend flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a small mixing bowl until they are all totally mixed together.
  • Mix egg, oil, and water in a small, separate bowl.
  • Get a hand mixer (on lowest setting) ready and add wet ingredients to the dry ones. Immediately mix ingredients with mixer for a minute until dough forms into a ball. (if dough is too dry or comes apart, add a little water; if it is too wet, add a little rice flour)
  • At this point, turn your stove top on high and bring pot of water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, add a little oil to avoid sticky dough and roll dough out into a very thin, even layer (you can divide the dough into several parts to work with less at one time, also I just used my hands for this, finding it much easier than worrying about a rollling pin). Cut dough into strips of desired width (thin noodles, wide noodles, square noodles for lasagna, etc).
  • Once the water is boiled, add a dash of salt and all the pasta. Stir occasionally until the pasta is al dente, cooking about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with butter, sauce, or other desired toppings.

My Pizza Recipe wasn’t a total failure…

Standard

I have been wanting to try out my own pizza recipe for a while, and tonight I finally did. I used my favorite flours and what seemed like sensible amount. I obviously didn’t think through the process enough because this pizza…well it wasn’t my best recipe. Let’s just say, if I make this again, I will definitely be making some adjustments. Luckily I think I know at least two of the problems. One. It was too thick and starchy. Next time, I will probably only use 1/4 cup tapioca flour. And I will probably lower the amount of cornstarch as well, to 1/4 cup as well, perhaps. Second, I didn’t have enough cheese. If I had had more, I think the pizza would have been better. I can say I know this for a fact because one half of the pizza had more cheese, and I definitely liked that half better. You know what, I did like this pizza with a lot of cheese. So next time, maybe I will just make this thinner and put more cheese on it. Yes…and then just reduce the tapioca flour.

This pizza was not totally a failure, because I liked it some, and I can tell that if a make some simple adjustments it could probably be great. I would not make this recipe the same way again, but I wouldn’t mind too much if I had to. It wasn’t horrible. It just wasn’t great. After this, I might just stick to simpler recipes until I get more acquainted with flour ratios and mixes. In fact, after this episode, I am more confident than ever in my delicious store of wonderful gluten-free pizzas that I have tried and loved. I think I will just stick to those. I have posted the recipe, but just be warned…I haven’t deemed it delicious.

Now, I actually do have some pictures (I found my camera!), but I will not be able to post them until tomorrow, because my camera just died and takes quite a while to charge.

(Actually, the slice of pizza above was almost delicious, because it was from the half with lots of cheese, so I liked it.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp sauce
  • About 1 cup cheese of cheese
  • Any additional, desired toppings

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a tin foil-covered baking sheet.
  • Blend all dry ingredients except salt in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and oil separately and add to dry ingredients.
  • Mix all ingredients until smooth and well incorporated, and no flour clumps remain.
  • Spoon onto greased pan  and spread out to form about a half-inch crust
  • Bake crust for 15 minutes, then remove and add any desired toppings.
  • Bake an additional 6-7 minutes and then serve (sooner better than later).

SO. I realize this post may be a bit confusing, but if anything, I hope you come away with this: If you use a LOT of cheese, this pizza is pretty good, and almost delicious.

Spinach, Mushroom, Chicken Stir Fry and Rice

Standard

This is a healthy, delicious, and super easy recipes I whipped together the other night, just to try something new. I will be honest, I don’t love spinach on its own. I even sort of dislike it in salads. But cooked with other delicious ingredients? Stir Fried? Yum. I will eat all the spinach! I discovered that it taste so delicious with some portabellas especially. It made me think about making a whole new recipe with spinach and mushrooms…maybe some cooked spinach on top of a large portabella mushroom cap, topped with mozzarella cheese? Now that is something I will look into! Another recipe idea that this recipe made me think of is a spinach casserole, or a breakfast spinach casserole (with spinach, eggs, cheese, and whatever else I decide when I make it) or quiche. These are two recipes that I am definitely interested in making!

This recipe was just me throwing a bunch of ingredients together that I thought would taste good together, and the measurements may not be totally exact. But you can honestly just add however much of the ingredients you want (Just have mostly spinach and mushrooms, closely followed by chicken, and the less pepper than the other ingredients). For the mushrooms, you can use baby portabellas or large ones, just make sure you cut them up. For the chicken, I use about 2 inch pieces, precooked, so I just have to heat it up with the rest of the ingredients. If you are using raw chicken, however, you probably need to precook it. As for the pepper, I use anywhere from 1/2 to 1 pepper.

Along with the stir fry, I cooked some rice as well, because it completes the whole stir fry meal. This is such a delicious meal! The gluten free stir fry makes 3-4 servings. You can serve it over rice, or with the rice as a side, as I like to do. Lastly, you may be looking at these pictures and think something is missing…well you are right. I was out of red pepper when I made this, but (this is the second time I have made this recipe) the last time I made this recipe I loved the pepper, and I was mad that I was out. Oh well, it was still delicious gluten free stir fry!

NOTE: This can be made vegetarian by ommiting the chicken. You can replace it with more mushrooms or a different variety of veggies. I really want to try adding some squash and/or zucchini next time I make this. Then it really will be vegetarian and gluten free stir fry.

(I apologize for the terrible photo quality – these were taken from my cell phone because my camera was missing…yikes!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (gluten free)
  • 10 ounces uncooked spinach
  • 1 container (about 4 cups) portabella mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper (or any color), sliced
  • 1 1/2-2 cups chicken

Instructions:

  • Prepare a large frying pan on the stove top by covering/greasing with 3-4 tbsp olive oil.
  • Turn stove on to medium-high heat and preheat pan (about 2-5 minutes)
  • Add mushrooms, pepper, and chicken and then the spinach on top. Add Worcestershire Sauce evenly and stir ingredients around a bit.
  • Cover and cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
  • Serve immediately for best results.