Green Bean Casserole

My sister introduced this to me.  It is starting to become a staple of our holiday dinners.  I can’t exactly say it’s good for you, but it’s yummy nonetheless.  The original name is Sweet and Sour Green Beans, but we have started calling it Green Bean Casserole.

Layer in 9×13 casserole dish in this order:

2 large cans of French cut green beans, drained

1 large can of sliced mushrooms (optional)

1 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (save the grease)

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 large can Rotel (original)

 

Mix and bring to a boil, stirring constantly:

12 T sugar

12 T. red wine vinegar

all of the bacon grease from frying the bacon earlier (about 12 T.)

Pour boiled sauce over the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or until bubbling and onions are done).

Notes:

Can be baked anywhere 300-450 degrees for up to 60 minutes, so you can cook it in the oven with other parts of the holiday meal.  We usually leave out the mushrooms and sometimes add an extra onion.  We never measure the bacon grease and just add it all.  If you don’t eat pork, turkey bacon may work. You may have to add a little extra grease if your turkey bacon isn’t very greasy.  Hope you enjoy this casserole as much as we do!

Recipe is compliments of Alberta Denham.

 

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Mexican Lasagna

Sometimes corn tortillas misbehave.  They just don’t want to roll and they keep breaking, especially if they aren’t as fresh as they once were.  Out of the ashes of broken tortillas arose this recipe.  May your tortillas serve you well until the last day of their expiration! (Like many Tex-Mex dishes, this is the same list of ingredients, just in different proportions and repackaged.  This is really enchiladas.  Shhhh!!!)

 

Ingredients:

1 red pepper

1.5 pounds ground beef (omit if vegetarian and use more beans)

1 can enchilada sauce (Old El Paso)

1/2 to 1 can rotel (depending on your spice tolerance)

1/2 lime

3/4 bag spinach

1-2 cans refried beans or use my recipe

1 bag corn tortillas

Salsa, for topping

 

Directions:

Cook ground beef.  Add 1/2 can of enchilada sauce, rotel, and lime.  Grease a 9×13 pan.  Put in one layer of tortillas (6).  Layer in 1/3 of beef, 1/3 of spinach, and 1/3 of beans.  Repeat two more times- tortillas, beef, spinach, beans.  You can add in cheese if you can eat it.  After the last layer of tortillas, top with remaining enchilada sauce and brush on until all the visible tortillas are covered.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Top with salsa and serve with cilantro lime rice.

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Basil and Greens Salad

I usually don’t make fancy salads.  I end up eating them at restaurants often and it takes a lot of ingredients to make it fancy.  However, one day I looked in my fridge and realized I had collected little bits and pieces that together could make a really good salad.  If you don’t have one or more of these ingredients, don’t worry.  The recipe won’t be ruined as salads are very forgiving.  I mean, after all, they let you toss them and then eat them.

Ingredients:

1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

handful of spinach

2 stems of basil, leaves only- I used ajaka and red basil because that’s what I had,

1 handful of cilantro, chopped

1 stalk of celery, diced

1/2 bunch of green onions- green part only, sliced

Dressing: Ken Martin’s Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing.  Surprisingly, it looks creamy yet has no gluten, dairy, or eggs in it.

Directions:

Wash and chop all ingredients.  You may use more or less of any ingredient if that’s what you have around.  The basil is a really nice touch, so I would include some form of basil if you have it.  You could also toss in some carrots, tomatoes, etc. for some color.

Top with your favorite dressing and enjoy!

Ding Dong Cupcakes- Version 1

I love all the chocolate Hostess and Little Debbie and Marinela items.  Unfortunately, I don’t know of a gluten free version, so here is a homemade, everything free recipe!  It is version one because I don’t have the frosting quite right yet.  That didn’t stop us and some guests from polishing them off!  Don’t miss out on making these cupcakes, but feel free to experiment with different frostings.  I will be doing the same and I’ll let you know when I make the right one :-).  In the meantime, I have included several options below.

Ingredients:

Dry:

1/2 c. brown rice flour

1/2 c. sorghum flour

1/4 c. potato starch

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet:

1 c. nondairy milk

1/3 c. canola oil

1 T. apple cider vinegar

Filling:

SoDelicious CocoWhip

 

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add wet ingredients and stir well.  Pour into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until it springs back when you lightly tap the top.  Cool slightly and remove from muffin tin.  Allow to cool completely.  Punch out a hole in the top using this clever device that I found for a few dollars at Bed Bath and Beyond:

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Fill hole with thawed SoDelicious CocoWhip.  Cut punched out part of cake in half and top the filled cupcake with the punched out part like this:

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I was a little sloppy since I knew I was going to frost it.

Frosting:

I think the best frosting so far would be my Milk Chocolate Icing.  It’s not perfect for this recipe, but of the following options, I think it has the best texture.  If you are going more for looks than texture, continue reading.

The following frosting was good, but it was a little too hard and did not replicate the frosting on the Hostess/Little Debbie/Marinela cupcakes you find at the store.  This is what I did, but it would work better if imitating Reeses or something like that.

Ingredients:

4 ounces Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp milk

1.5 T. shortening

Directions:

Melt chocolate in the microwave in a bowl- stir every 30 seconds until melted.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Top cupcakes quickly as the frosting will quickly harden.

It looked like this:

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The icing I used in the top image is just melted chocolate that hardened on top- no extra ingredients added:

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Recipe adapted from: http://www.forkandbeans.com/2014/08/22/gluten-free-vegan-homemade-ding-dongs/

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup

This is one of my favorite fall soups.  It’s kind of a froo-froo soup, but I love it!  Since I was on a soft diet at the time I made this batch, I don’t show the pecans on top.  You will just have to imagine it or make it yourself.  I don’t remember where I got this recipe from, but the original author suggested drizzling hazelnut oil on top.  I have never bothered finding it in a store, so I have no idea if that would make it better or not.  Most likely the answer is yes.  If you try it, let me know if it’s worth it!

 

Ingredients:

4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

4 large sweet-tart apples (Empire, Braeburn, Cameo, or Pink Ladies), unpeeled and cut in fourths

1/4 c. olive oil

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 T. fresh sage or 1 tsp dried

6 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want it to be vegetarian)

1/3 c. pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine butternut squash, apples, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Spread onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once.  Bake until squash and apples are very tender.  Place 1/3 in blender along with 2 c. chicken broth.  Blend and then place in sauce pan. Continue with the rest of the apple mixture and chicken broth.  Cook blended soup in saucepan for at least 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  May top with pecans and a drizzle of hazelnut oil if desired.

Pineapple Fried Rice

My husband loves pineapple fried rice.  He orders it almost every time it’s on the menu.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found a gluten free one in a restaurant yet, hence this recipe.  If you want it to be vegetarian, just skip the chicken.  You could add scrambled eggs in too if you can eat eggs.

 

Ingredients:

1 T. coconut oil

1-1.5 pounds chicken, cubed

1 1/2 c. pineapple chunks

1 red pepper, diced in 1/2-inch pieces

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. cashews

4 c. cooked rice

1/2 c. raisins

1 lime

1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce

2 T gluten free soy sauce

 

 

Directions:

Warm 1 T. coconut oil in a large wok.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through.  Set chicken aside in a bowl.  Leave 1 T. of the liquid in the pan.  Add pineapple, red peppers, and brown sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the green onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Add pineapple mixture into the bowl with the chicken.

Toast cashews in the pan for 30 seconds and then add in the cooked rice and cook for 2 minutes.  Add raisins and return the chicken and pineapple mixture to the pan and continue cooking until it is all warm again.  Add in the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and lime and stir.

I used to make this with three pounds of chicken and it was way too meat-centric.  I have now cut the meat down to 1-1.5 pounds which will help the other flavors shine.

Adapted from: http://cookieandkate.com/2015/thai-pineapple-fried-rice-recipe/

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I actually made this dish twice.  The main picture has cilantro in it, but I decided it was better without cilantro.  This is the second rendition and tasted much better.

Spinach Enchiladas

Sometimes I get so focused on the main dish that I forget to make vegetables, so this time I put the veggies IN our enchiladas.

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef, cooked

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1 can Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce, 10 oz. can

1 can of rotel, 10 oz.

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1/4 bag of spinach

1-2 cans refried beans- or you can follow my recipe listed below

1 bag of corn tortillas

Green onions, chopped

 

Directions:

Cook ground beef and red peppers.  Stir in 1/2 can of enchilada sauce, 1/2 can rotel, and lime juice.

Grease a 9×13 pan.  Scoop a spoonful of beef and a spoonful of beans into the tortilla.  Add in a handful of spinach and roll and place in pan.  Repeat until the pan is full.  Drizzle on the remaining enchilada sauce and use a brush to spread it over all the visible parts of the tortillas.

Cook at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Top with chopped green onions.  If you can have cheese, top with cheddar cheese.  Serve with a side of cilantro rice.

 

Refried bean recipe:

1.5-2 c. mashed beans (1 can of pinto beans)

1/8 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp chili powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 a clove of garlic, minced

1/2 can of rotel with juice

1/2 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients and mash thoroughly.

 

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My tortillas were near the expiration date, so they didn’t bend quite as easily as fresh ones would have.

Cilantro Lime Rice in Rice Cooker

This evening I started rice in my rice cooker and about 10 minutes later realized what I really wanted was cilantro lime rice.  I googled for inspiration and didn’t find a recipe that exactly fit my needs.  My mother-in-law makes wonderful cilantro rice, but hers is stovetop and I was already past that point and I didn’t have all the ingredients.  I decided to try my hand at makeshift rice.  As suspected, I was able to just add the desired ingredients to the rice once it was cooked, so I didn’t have to mess with stovetop rice.  Yay!  If you don’t have a rice cooker, you could just do this on the stovetop.

Ingredients:

2 c. uncooked brown rice

water (the amount your rice cooker says to use for 2 cups of rice)

2 T. non-dairy butter

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp salt

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

 

Directions:

Cook rice according to rice cooker directions.  Once it is cooked, add the butter, lime, salt, and chopped cilantro.  Stir well and serve as a side.  Pairs well with my enchiladas.

 

Adapted from: http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2015/04/copycat-chipotle-cilantro-lime-rice.html

 

Refried Beans

The name isn’t actually true.  I didn’t actually recook these.  They really should be “mashed and seasoned beans,” but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it, and it is a highly unlikely google search.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 cups cooked and mashed pinto beans, or 2 cans of pinto beans, drained

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can of rotel with juice (10 oz can)

Juice of half a lime

 

Directions:

Soak beans overnight.  Drain and put in crockpot.  Cover with water with an additional inch of water on top of beans.  Cook on low all day (6-8 hours).

Drain water.  Mash beans (I used an immersion blender.)  Add in all ingredients and stir well.  May be served as a side dish or used as the bean portion of my enchiladas.

Blueberry Donuts

I sang in the Easter choir this year at my church.  During one of the practices, someone brought blueberry donuts.  Oh how I love blueberry donuts!  Unfortunately, they were full of gluten, so I conjured up memories of their flavor for about a week.  I began wondering if I could make blueberry cake donuts that were gluten, dairy, and egg free.  This was the result.  One of the main tricks to keeping it yummy?  Don’t skimp on the sugar :-).

Ingredients:

1/2 c. coconut oil

1 1/2 c. sugar

3 flax eggs (3 T. golden flaxseed mixed with 9 T. water) or 3 regular eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 c. brown rice flour

3/4 c. potato starch

1/2 c. tapioca starch

3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. non-dairy milk

1 c. blueberries, thawed

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Melt coconut oil and stir together with sugar in a large bowl.  Add “eggs” and vanilla and stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk to the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  I usually give it a quick mix with a mixer just to make sure all those gluten free ingredients are incorporated (about 1-2 minutes).  The last thing you want is a mouthful of unblended rice flour.

Put about 2 1/2 T. of batter into greased donut pan.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 13-15 minutes until donut springs back when you touch it.

Makes about 18.

You may top with glaze.

Adapted from: http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/gluten-free-yellow-cake-recipe/

 

Glaze Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 T. coconut milk

dash salt (about 1/4 tsp)

 

Combine sugar, vanilla and 1 1/2 T. coconut milk.  Stir until a paste begins to form.  Add the extra 1/2 T. of milk if it is too dry to be spreadable.  Add the dash of salt and combine well.  Taste and see if you want more salt.  Spread on tops of cooled donuts.

 

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