Tag Archives: snack

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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Sometimes all you need is some popcorn

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I love, love, LOVE popcorn! And sometimes I forget just how satisfying it is. And I don’t just mean throwing a bag in the microwave…those kinds are good, but my favorite kind is plain kernels popped on top of the stove. I also love Jiffy Pop, which is probably my second favorite kind or just about tied with first. Anyway, I love the taste so much better and it’s healthier. It’s also easy, quick, and enjoyable. The popping is amplified and I love listening for that first mini explosion!

All you need are some kernels, olive oil, and salt if desired (I might put a little salt, but nothing else). This is such a great, delicious, low-calorie snack. I even make some popcorn and have a salad or some fruit on the side for lunch sometimes. Popcorn is actually a healthy food too much on if you lay off any excessive toppings life butter or cheese or caramel (I have known people who do this. Those can make great snacks too, they are just not as healthy or simple. For me, the olive oil replaces the butter with a much cleaner, lighter taste, and the salt adds the perfect amount of flavor. I barely use any salt at all, to be honest.

Not only is this popcorn better than bagged, microwavable popcorn, it is also so much cheaper because you get a ton more out of a container of kernels than a few bags. So next time you are craving popcorn, try the stove top way!

No Bake Energy Bites

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Recently, I have discovered a love of oatmeal. I use Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats (gluten free, of course). This is now my breakfast most mornings, having replaced my normal Rice Chex cereal. Oatmeal and fruit. I am obsessed. Oats are also so yummy plain, by themselves, as well as toasted (as I discovered in making this recipe). With my new love of oats came a desire to find one or two new recipes using them. One thing that kept popping up with every search was granola bars and foods related. One that caught my eye was no bakes. All of those search items inspired me to make these simple snacks. Easy, quick, tasty. These are my no bake energy bites, no bakes for short.

Also, in the picture above, you will notice a lot of excess at the bottom of the bowl…this was due to the fact that I accidentally added an extra 1/4 cup of oats. But they still turned out great!

No Bakes

Makes about 10-14 balls.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry oats (make sure they are gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes*
  • 1/4 cup, 1 tbsp almond butter (can use peanut butter as well)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (if unavailable, you can toast and grind additional oats)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp honey

Optional ingredients:

  • chocolate chips
  • dried fruit/berries
  • chopped nuts/seeds (almonds, pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds)
  • a little vanilla

Instructions:

  • Thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. If the mix is too dry, add more peanut butter or honey.
  • Place in the refrigerator for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Once chilled, roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
  • After you have rolled them into balls, put them back in the fridge for 10-20 more minutes for maximum deliciousness.
  • Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week (in an airtight container-I put them in a ziplock).

*Watch the coconut flakes as they toast because they can burn easily.

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.

Make Your Own Polenta!

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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!

Cucumber Sandwich

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Today I simply did not feel like cooking – I just wasn’t in the mood. On top of that, I did not exactly have a stocked fridge or pantry. All I wanted was a nice, simple sandwich. No cooking. Not even a grilled cheese, because that would have involved cooking the sandwich. I was about to settle for my typical, common lazy lunch of a cheese sandwich and cucumbers (yes, I actually make a yummy cheese sandwich quite often as a quick and easy lunch). I had cut my cucumbers when I wondered…what would cucumbers on bread taste like? Don’t ask why that thought crossed my mind, I have no idea myself. I just saw the two foods sitting side by side. Naturally I took a cucumber and tried a bite.

It was delicious.

I put the cheese away almost immediately (after cutting a quick slice to munch on) and instead made a cucumber sandwich. Healthier and about the same on my delicious scale (I love cheese sandwiches). All this “recipe” requires is two slices of bread and some cucumbers to cover the bread. Done. Eat. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Cucumber and COTTAGE CHEESE sandwich…nom. Or, as a quick snack, literally a cucumber sandiwch: 2 cucumbers with some cottage cheese in the middle!

Race for the Cure and Cheese “Ribbon” Crackers

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Today I ran the 5k Race for the Cure. I am not the fastest runner, but have a consistent 10-11 minute mile. Not the best, but not too shabby, I think. I love running, even though I am not the best, it is simply something I enjoy doing. I ran the Monument 10k last March and had a blast doing that as well. It is such a satisfying and rewarding feeling knowing that I have run the entire way (without stopping), whether the distance is 6.2 miles or a little over 3. Crossing the finish line at a sprint is exhilarating. In honor of breast cancer and this day, I decided to make a recipe that would acknowledge the importance of today.

This recipe idea was inspired by the gluten-free goldfish recipe I have made in the past, by Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, but this recipe is original. I designed this recipe for cheese straws, but since today was Race for the Cure, I molded most of the dough into ribbons instead. I did make a couple of cheese straws, since that is what I had in mind for this recipe, to make sure they turned out all right, and they were great! I also cut a couple of crackers like in my goldfish recipe. I like my “goldfish” a little puffier, so I usually am closer to a quarter inch thickness, rather than a thickness of say 1/8 or thinner. I think with this recipe, the cheese crackers actually taste better if they are thicker/puffier, but it is totally up to the cook.

 

As you may or may not remember, I have recently added tapioca flour to my pantry and have loved it! I wanted to try making a cracker with that, as opposed to brown rice flour, to see if there is a huge difference. I have also enjoyed experimenting with different flour blends, including tapioca-corn starch blends. I was excited to see how this would turn out as a cracker recipe, and I was not disappointed–the cheese crackers were delicious! However, I must say that my family and I were in mutual agreement that we liked the other ones, the cheese crackers using brown rice flour, better. The brown rice flour “goldfish” were just a little more crisp and had a little more flavor, I thought. This does not mean I did not like this recipe, though, and it would definitely be one that I would love to make again! So I suggest that you try it, and maybe the other recipe, and compare the two. Which do you like better?

This recipe is called Cheese Straws, but honestly, as you have seen above, you can really make any shape or design as long as it’s not too thick (or overly thin). I even made a star one time (when I made the other goldfish another time). So be creative!

Cheese Straws/Cracker Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour (starch)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tsp milk

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and cover a baking sheet with tin foil, greasing lightly.
  • Mix butter, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, basil, and salt together (mixture should resemble coarse crumbs).
  • Add milk and mix in well.
  • Mix in cheese and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated and evenly distributed, with no flour clumps.
  • On a floured surface, roll out dough to no more than 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Cut dough into thin straws and roll slightly between fingers/with palm.
  • *For ribbons: after you roll the dough slightly between fingers, carefully bend dough so it is in a ribbon shape, and flatten slightly.
  • Bake for about 6-9 minutes on greased baking sheet.
  • Serve warm or save for later.

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!