Hi, friends! Today I’ve cooked up something extra-delicious for dinner: soft corn tortillas covered in melted cheese and stuffed with tender strips of chicken and a mouthwatering tomato and chili sauce. This is my family’s new comfort food. In fact, this past week we enjoyed enchiladas several days in a row for dinner, but there is actually a looong story behind that.
The enchilada adventures started when I visited my local supermarket last week. I am so grateful for a supermarket that recognizes gluten-free diets and goes out of its way to keep my favorite gluten-free products in stock. As I was browsing in the gluten-free section, I noticed a new product that I had never seen before: soft corn tortillas by Mission Foods. My family loves tacos but we usually only eat the hard shells, and I thought a soft tortilla would make a nice change.
However, once I returned home, I realized that these corn tortillas were destined for greater things. John suggested enchiladas. Shredded chicken in a savory sauce rolled up in tortillas and baked in a casserole dish until piping hot and ready to serve. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect dish for a cold, wintry evening?
Not all corn tortillas are created equal, however. The Mission Tortillas say gluten-free on the package, but not certified gluten-free. Their gluten free statement says that their corn based products are produced in lines totally dedicated for corn based products. You can read their statement here.
The enchiladas came out wonderfully with the Mission Tortillas, but I decided to see if I could find certified gluten free corn tortillas as well for those of us worried about cross-contamination. More about cross-contamination here.
Enter Rudi’s. Dairy-free, nut-free, and certified gluten-free. (I also found out that Udi’s makes a certified gluten-free corn tortilla, but Rudi’s was the only one I could locate in my supermarket). So after having enjoyed enchiladas for dinner and then lunch the next day, I decided to make the recipe again with Rudi’s to see if they would turn out as beautifully as the Mission Tortillas had done. And I’m pleased to report that they passed my family’s taste test with flying colors. I recommend warming each tortilla in a little oil in a skillet. It will enhance their flavor and make them easier to roll.
Having the best tasting corn tortillas is definitely an important part of this dish, but I think it’s the wonderful flavor of the sauce that made my family keep coming back for seconds and not minding one bit when I said we were having enchiladas again for dinner. Onion, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, and cilantro combine to make the perfect zesty sauce.
Writing this post and looking at these photos is making me crave enchiladas again. And they’re so easy to make that I really am tempted to serve them up for dinner a third time. Just spoon the chicken and sauce onto each tortilla. Top with cheese and tightly roll. Place the enchiladas in a baking dish, top with more cheese and sauce, pop in the oven for twenty minutes, and serve with sour cream. Enjoy!
These beautiful little mushrooms are stuffed to overflowing with savory Italian sweet sausage, bacon bits, and Mascarpone cheese. They’re my signature dish that I make each year for my family’s New Year’s Eve party. This December, though, I became a little impatient having to wait until the very last day of the year to enjoy this treat, and so I decided to make them several weeks earlier and share the recipe here on the blog.
I came across a similar recipe several years ago when scouring the Internet for ideas for a gluten-free version of stuffed mushrooms. Since then, I’ve added several ingredients (like the bacon bits!) and substituted my favorite gluten-free choices for those suggested in the original recipe. The end result is a show stopping appetizer that makes a wonderful addition to a holiday party or any special occasion.
These mushrooms are not difficult to make, but they do take a bit longer to prepare than most of the recipes on our site. I have to admit that when I find myself in the kitchen, I love to be adventurous and try to recreate unique and extravagant dishes that I may have tried at a fancy restaurant or seen on a cooking show, like that one summer afternoon that I thought it would be fun to make crème brûlée (it turned out much more difficult than I expected, though still delicious). No need to fear, however. Unlike that crème brûlée, these stuffed mushrooms are extremely easy to make, and once you take your first bite of the finished product, you will know that all of that time spent in the kitchen was very much worth it.
Here’s a tip. These stuffed mushrooms are much more fun to make if you have another chef in the kitchen to cook with you. I enlisted the help of my younger brother Peter to take photos of the stuffed mushroom making process and also give me a hand with chopping up the ingredients. We turned up the music and got to work. (more…)
Why is gluten free living so tricky?
Today my dear husband, John, is visiting the blog with an article about the issue of cross contamination especially with gluten containing products manufactured on shared equipment.
Everyone who suffers from celiac disease has at one time or another feared that they might have ingested some gluten through cross contamination. While the slightest amount of gluten ingestion can cause some to have severe overt symptoms, others may be experiencing internal damage and not even be aware of it. (I wrote about this here.) Therefore celiac disease sufferers must always be on guard against cross contamination. After a commitment to a life long diet of gluten free (GF) foods only, the avoidance of cross contamination may be one of the most difficult endeavors for those with celiac.
This post today is brought to you by bacon. Yes, that’s right. Slices of juicy bacon wrapped around tender strips of chicken and brushed with mouth-watering barbecue sauce. Do I really need to tell you how delicious these are?
When my kids asked what was for dinner tonight, I told them chicken wrapped in bacon, and their eyes widened in disbelief as if I had just told them we were having ice cream for dinner. Yes, everyone loves bacon in my house. Sometimes I’ll even throw bacon into the veggies (here and here) to watch my kids lick their plates clean in seconds. You can never have enough bacon, am I right?
On a hunt to find the healthiest bacon to serve up for my family, I discovered Oscar Mayer Selects Smoked Uncured Bacon. Not only is it gluten free, but also it is free of all preservatives: nitrates and nitrites. I also like that it is easily available in my local supermarket. For those of you worried about cross contamination with gluten containing products manufactured on shared equipment, my family also loves Applegate.
This bacon wrapped chicken was partly inspired by the memory of warm summer evenings when my family ate dinner outside on the backyard patio, bathed in sunlight and feasting on fresh vegetables and chicken grilled on the barbecue. As much as I love the Christmas season, I very much miss those warm summer evenings. It snowed the day before Thanksgiving (unusually early for where I live in the Northeast), and since then the weather has progressively gotten colder and colder. Several nights ago, we lit a fire in the fireplace for the first time this winter. But this chicken seems to bring a taste of summer back to the table. It’s probably the barbecue sauce that I made sure to brush on oh so generously.
You have to be careful when cooking with barbecue sauce because not all sauces are gluten free friendly. Not to fear, though. I made sure to hunt down gluten free sauces for you all. Maybe one of these days I’ll be adventurous enough to try my hand at whipping up a homemade barbecue sauce too. In the meantime, I usually choose between Bone Suckin’ Sauce (I can’t get over that name) or Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce. They are both free of high fructose corn syrup. I chose Stubb’s this time while making the bacon wrapped chicken: it’s a beautiful blend of vinegar, tomato & black pepper, and not as overpoweringly sweet as most brands. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, go with the Bone Suckin’ Sauce which is sweetened with honey.
One last tip. Because I wasn’t about to brave the ice-cold rain to get to my barbecue outside, I cooked these directly in my oven. I happened to have a metal shelf/rack from my convection Spacemaker oven that I placed over a pan lined with aluminum foil. You need to make sure to place a rack over a roasting pan in order to catch the drippings.
I probably don’t have to tell you that this chicken was an instant hit. And best of all, it only took ten minutes to prepare and then just thirty minutes in the oven. Not only is it a fantastic dish for dinner, but it would also make a very nice appetizer at a holiday party. Who could resist that bacon? (more…)
When Christmas is in the air, it makes me want to whip up something sweet and fun in the kitchen. Even better when that something is healthy and gluten-free like these coconut and almond dark chocolate bars.
These beautiful bars are sheer happiness in your mouth: a layer of toasted coconut flakes, coconut oil, almonds, and chia seeds topped with a thin layer of delicate chocolate and sprinkled with more chopped almonds. Yum.
My husband, John, loves coconut, and I love the many health benefits of coconut oil: strengthening the immune system, preventing heart disease, improving digestion, and contributing to healthy skin (to name just a few!). My daughter, Nicole, has used coconut oil with great success for moisturizing dry skin during the winter months. But coconut oil works even better when taken internally. These bars are the perfect way to add a little coconut oil to your diet, and they are super-easy to prepare.
John and I decided to make them tonight while the kids started bringing down all of our Christmas decorations from the attic. I can hardly believe Christmas is only eighteen days away, and I’m looking forward to my family’s annual expedition to find the perfect Christmas tree.
But back to the kitchen and the Coconut Almond Dark Chocolate Bars. I am not kidding when I say these are ridiculously quick and easy to prepare, as long as you are willing to wait for them to set in the freezer.
First, John and I toast a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes in the oven until lightly browned. This takes just five minutes. Next, we blend almond chunks and a little coconut oil in a super blender until the mixture is very smooth. (If you are concerned about nuts manufactured on shared equipment with gluten containing products, Nuts.com prominently labels which products of theirs are certified gluten-free). We toss in the chia seeds and toasted coconut flakes and pulse the mixture several times. When all of the ingredients are mixed beautifully together, we pour into a pan lined with wax paper and sprinkle a little salt on top.
All that is left to do is to place the pan in the freezer for thirty minutes. While this is happening, feel free to rock out to Christmas carols on the radio. Really, these bars would make a delicious treat while decorating the Christmas tree or at your holiday party. Or you might even sneak a few during breakfast, and, hey, no need to feel guilty – they’re actually good for you!
Once the mixture has hardened, I melt chocolate in a small pot and drizzle over the frozen coconut and almonds. Then I sprinkle more chopped almonds on top and put the pan back in the freezer for another five minutes.
And they’re done!
For anyone who loves coconut, these bars are sure to satisfy your coconut craving. They are light and refreshing: not too sweet, not too crunchy. Just right for an afternoon snack or healthy dessert with your steaming mug of hot chocolate. I like to accompany mine with a bowl of fresh berries. Now to admire the Christmas village my kids have set up on the fireplace mantle.
My husband, John, is visiting the blog today with an article about the effects of a gluten free diet for those with celiac disease.
As I was enjoying a cup of green tea and a couple of Barbara’s new almond joy delights (recipe coming soon!), I came across an interesting article on Celiac.com titled Two-Thirds of Celiac Patients Show Full Histological Recovery After 1-Year on Gluten-free Diet.
As someone who has celiac disease and is the father of two sons who also have the disease, I was very encouraged by the headline. Hey, I thought, the three of us have been gluten–free for a lot longer than that. We must be doing pretty good. However, as they say, the devil is in the details. There was some good news and some not so good news in the study.
After enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and then feasting on the leftovers for several days, I knew that my family was in need of something especially healthy to start off the week. Yesterday, I tossed together an extra big salad for lunch and decided to try something new with the dressing. My final creation was this beautiful apple cider vinaigrette: one hundred percent gluten free and one hundred percent nourishing to your body.
I’ve been using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with olive oil as a dressing on my salads for several years. Raw apple cider vinegar has a host of health benefits from improving digestion to alleviating heartburn to maintaining healthy skin. Despite its acidic taste, raw apple cider vinegar alkalizes the body, balancing your pH, to help you fight off disease and inflammation. I especially like Bragg’s because it contains the “mother” of the vinegar: strands of living proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria.
To soften the sharp taste of the apple cider vinegar, I also added several special ingredients to my dressing: garlic, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. I love the gluten free, organic Dijon mustard made by Annie’s Homegrown with its French country flavor and gourmet taste. Yum.
My final salad dressing concoction was a lively blend of mustard with a hint of tang from the vinegar. It was the perfect way to add a little zest to the salad greens.
Can it be true? Yes, yes! Some things that are delicious are also quite good for you too.
This tasty dressing will give you that much-needed energy boost to start your week and will also help supercharge your immune system in the winter months.
Have a happy and healthy week, friends!
As promised, I have an extra special post for you today! I’ve compiled my family’s favorite gluten-free recipes that I make each year for our Thanksgiving dinner.
I love cooking for our holiday feast, but it can be a little tricky to reinvent the Thanksgiving staples for those who have Celiac disease. How to enjoy stuffing or turkey gravy or apple pie that are usually made with wheat flour? Not to fear! Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving in your home or visiting friends and family, you’ll be the top chef with these delicious dishes that can be enjoyed by everyone at the holiday table.
Gluten Free Velvety Smooth Gravy
Most gravy is thickened with wheat flour, but I’ve found a great tasting instant mix that is gluten free and made by Maxwell’s Kitchen. It takes minutes to prepare over the stove and is usually my go-to solution when I need to whip up gravy in a pinch. However, for Thanksgiving I love to accompany the turkey with my own homemade, velvety smooth gravy made with the turkey drippings. Yum.
Here’s the recipe below:
If you have cooked a turkey, pour the drippings into a measuring cup. The fat will separate to the top. Spoon off the fat.
Next whisk together 2 tblsps of gluten free all purpose flour or corn starch plus 2 tblsp of the drippings in a pan until the mixture is thick and smooth. (If you do not have drippings, you may use butter.) Continue to stir and slowly brown the flour over a low heat for 5 minutes.
Then add 1 cup of stock (I’ve used Herb Ox bouillon). Whisk and simmer so that the gravy stays smooth while it thickens.
Season with herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Thanksgiving just doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without the stuffing. Several of the secret ingredients to my savory, gluten-free version are Udi’s bread, onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, sage, and thyme. And, best of all, it takes only twenty minutes to prepare and then an hour in the oven. I make sure to use my biggest casserole dish as everyone always clamors for seconds and thirds. Recipe here.
You can never go wrong with bacon, right? I love serving up a special vegetable on holidays, and these super easy Brussels sprouts are always an instant hit with adults and kids alike. Recipe here.
This beautiful pie could be reserved for dessert, but I usually sneak it onto the table as a side dish with the ham and turkey. Cut yourself a slice and top with whip cream. With the first bite, you will fall in love with its sweet, creamy goodness. Recipe here.
Your gluten-free taste buds don’t have to skip dessert at this year’s Thanksgiving. This pumpkin crisp combines all the wonderful flavors of fall with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and a topping of crunchy chopped pecans. Recipe here.
Yes, I’ve saved the best for last. Here it is. A delectable gluten-free apple pie just for you. Juicy apple slices tossed with spices and covered in a flakey, flavorful crust. Is your mouth watering yet? Recipe here.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope these quick and easy recipes will become favorites in your house as they are in mine. Have a blessed and delicious Thanksgiving feast!
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Can you believe Thanksgiving is only three days away? I’m rushing to put the finishing touches on an extra special Thanksgiving post for you all filled with lots of gluten-free ideas for your Thanksgiving feast.
But first I have to share this recipe because it’s amazing and you’re going to love it. It was the perfect dish for a very busy evening the other day when I was knee-deep in holiday preparations and needed to serve up something quick, easy, and delicious. Seriously, this elegant dish really only takes fifteen minutes to prepare and ten minutes in the oven.
It’s inspired by one of my favorite recipes, Eggplant Rollatini, but I decided to put a new twist on it with chicken. My daughter, Nicole, is studying Italian and informed me that in Italy it would be called “Involtini di Pollo.” Yum, sounds so very sophisticated.
My Involtini di Pollo (or Chicken Rollatini, as I called them) are made with beautifully thin chicken scallopini, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I carefully rolled up each piece of chicken with a slice of Swiss Cheese in the center. Then, I arranged three small bowls on the counter. In the first, I mixed half a cup of gluten-free flour with paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In the second, gluten-free breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Yes, garlic powder might be a secret ingredient here. And, finally, in the last bowl, I whisked an egg together with one tablespoon of milk.
Now we’re coming to the fun part. Each little chicken roll gets dredged first in the flour, then in the egg and milk, and lastly in the breadcrumbs. Next, I cooked the rolls in a skillet for three minutes on each side with a little butter and oil until they were golden. I then popped them in the oven where they baked for ten minutes.
And they’re ready to devour! Ecco gli Involtini di Pollo!
Nicole covered the rolls in marinara sauce and gently sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese and parsley. She exclaimed, “Sono buonissimi!”
I love when cooking turns into an impromptu foreign language lesson. And I also love how the beautiful red marinara sauce and the green parsley give this dish a dash of Christmas colors, making it perfect for a quick and festive holiday dinner.
Buon Appetito! (more…)
With Thanksgiving right around the corner here in the states, my family is already coming up with creative ideas for the turkey leftovers.
Honestly, why wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy delicious turkey tenderloin? Turkey made a wonderful, autumn dinner this weekend, and my kids loved using the leftover turkey to reinvent lunch the next day.
This gluten-free Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon, and Swiss Cheese Melt (yes, half the fun is piling on all of the ingredients) was entirely my kids’ creation, so I’m handing it over to my daughter, Nicole, to explain the details of the sandwich making process.
Nicole here! I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with you all.
Let’s start with the turkey. I’ve made turkey melts before with thin-sliced deli turkey, but you really can’t beat the taste of fresh, home cooked turkey tenderloin. Mom seasoned hers with salt and pepper and baked it in a beautiful sauce of white wine, chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, and green tarragon sprigs. Is your mouth watering yet?
Ok, let’s save some of that turkey for the sandwiches. We’ll also need to cook up bacon in a skillet. I used Oscar Mayer’s Select No Nitrite Bacon, and I’ll admit that I couldn’t stop myself from snacking on several strips of crispy bacon as I prepared the sandwiches.
First, we’ll need two slices of gluten-free sandwich bread. I love Udi’s as the bread is almost as light and fluffy as real white bread. Actually, I’ll take that back. It is real white bread, just sans wheat.
I spread one side of the slices with softened butter, and then let them grill in a pan with more butter to make those beautiful black grill lines. The bread ends up toasty on one side, and soft and chewy on the other.
Next, I prepared the special sauce. This is the secret ingredient that takes the sandwich to a whole new level. It’s really just an abridged version of Russian dressing: a little bit of mayonnaise and ketchup mixed in a bowl until pink and ready to spread on the bread slices.
Now we’ll need to return to our skillet. Take several pieces of turkey, layer them with bacon, and cover with strips of Swiss cheese. Cover the skillet and heat until the cheese is melted.
And finally we’re ready to build the sandwich: a beautiful hot, turkey sandwich for cold autumn afternoons. Spread the slices with the special sauce; add fresh lettuce; stuff with the turkey, bacon, and melted cheese; and don’t forget the juicy, red tomatoes!
If you want to give your taste buds an added treat, make sure to pair this sandwich with healthy organic pickle slices.
You may not be able to go back to ordinary turkey sandwiches after taking your first bite of this ultimate gluten-free turkey melt.