Pasta Fagioli

One of my friends gave me a copy of this recipe a long time ago and I finally tried it.  I don’t think I’ve actually tried this at Olive Garden and I couldn’t now, but it was a nice and easy soup that warmed us up on cold days.  You have the option of using canned or dried beans.  I couldn’t find navy beans in a can and I have two crockpots, so I used dried beans.   I hope you take time to enjoy this recipe!

 

Ingredients:

3/4 c. dry kidney beans (or 1 can, drained)

3/4 c. dry navy beans (or 1 can, drained)

2 lbs ground beef, cooked- leave out beef if you want it to be vegetarian

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained

32 oz beef broth (I used a carton of HEB Beef Broth but you could also use Swansons)- use vegetable broth if vegetarian

3 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp pepper

5 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)

1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used a 24-oz can of Del Monte Traditional)

8-12 oz pasta (I used HEB gluten free)

 

Directions:

If making beans from scratch, soak overnight and then drain and cover with water again in a crockpot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until soft.  You may add them to the soup whenever they are soft enough.   Pre-cook the ground beef.  Add all ingredients to the crockpot except for the pasta.  Stir well, cover, and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  The original recipe says you can add pasta straight to the crockpot 30 minutes before you want to serve it, but I was nervous the gluten free pasta wouldn’t cook well that way.  Instead, I cooked it separately as per the package directions and then added it to the soup right before serving.

Note: I had two crockpots going at once- one for the beans and one for the soup.  When the beans were cooked, I added them to the soup.  If you only have one crockpot, you could cook the beans overnight and then use the same crockpot to do the soup during the day.

Original recipe:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/pasta-fagioli-in-the-crockpot-just-like-olive-garden-52984961

Pizza Hut Sauce Copycat

I used to do Book-It at my school.  I really enjoyed going and getting my free personal pan pizza with beef on top.  I also won a coloring contest in kindergarten and received a Cera stuffed animal (Land Before Time).  It smelled like Pizza Hut for a year or two and I would smell it right before going to sleep.  We would also order in Pizza Hut whenever we came back from a long trip.  Needless to say, Pizza Hut and I go way back.  Great news: if you just need to be gluten free, they have a pizza for you and you should go do that!   The bad news:  It has dairy and egg and only a few toppings are free from cross-contamination.  So, if you feel the desire to have a similar taste but you can’t eat their pizza, here’s the sauce for you!

 

Ingredients for one pizza:

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (I used Hunt’s)

1/4 tsp of each: basil, salt, marjoram, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, fennel, black pepper

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp lemon or lime juice

 

I will be posting the pizza itself soon.  I used Daiya cheese on top, but if you can do dairy, you could use mozzarella on top.

Mongolian Beef

This is a version of P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef.  Mine has extra vegetables :-).

 

Sauce Ingredients:

2 tsp oil (I used canola.)

1/2 tsp minced ginger

1 T. minced garlic

1/2 c. soy sauce (I use Kikkoman’s Gluten Free Soy Sauce)

1/2 c. water

3/4 c. brown sugar

 

Beef Ingredients:

1 c. oil

1 pound steak (I used whatever was a good price at the store.), cut into 1/4-inch thick strips.

1/4 c. cornstarch

2 large green onions, chopped (I think I may have used the whole bunch)

1-3 c. frozen Asian veggie mix- allow to thaw while you are cooking

 

Directions:

Heat the 2 tsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Carefully add the ginger and garlic and then immediately add the soy sauce, water, and brown sugar.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  After sugar is dissolved, boil for 2-3 minutes and then set it aside.

Heat 1 c. oil in a wok or large skillet.  Coat the steak in the cornstarch and allow it to rest for 10 minutes so the coating will stay on.  Cook beef briefly until all sides are browned, but meat should not be cooked through.

Remove meat from the pan and dump out the oil.  Return the meat to the pan and add the sauce and green onion and frozen veggies.  Serve over rice.

Adapted from: http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/pf-changs-mongolian-beef-copycat-recipe.html

Lemon-herb Chicken

 

Ingredients:

1/4 c. olive oil

3 T. minced garlic

1/3 c. white wine

1 T. lemon zest

2 T. lemon juice

1 lemon, cut in 8 pieces

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to taste (maybe 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)

4 chicken breasts

 

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat oil and add garlic.  Take off the heat before the garlic turns brown (about 1 minute).  Add wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Pour sauce into a 9×13 pan and then coat chicken breasts with a little olive oil and put them in the dish.  Add a little more salt and pepper on top and then spread lemon wedges throughout pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.  Wait 10 minutes to eat.  This keeps the chicken moister if you wait to cut into it.

 

Original recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-chicken-breasts-recipe.html

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/

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

 

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken

I love Chick-Fil-A.  They have many gluten free options.  Unfortunately, none of their fried chicken is currently gluten free.  Therefore, we have to resort to more labor-intensive means to meet our craving for Chick-Fil-A fried chicken.

This is based on a copycat recipe I used while overseas.  I wrote it on a notecard and now have no idea what the source was.  I was wondering if I could adapt it to meet dietary restrictions.  The answer is yes!

Ingredients:

1 Ener-G egg

1 cup non-dairy milk

1.5 to 2 pounds chicken tenders (skinless, boneless)

1 c. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

2 1/2 tsp to 1 T. salt

2 1/2 tsp powdered sugar

1/2 tsp pepper

oil for frying

 

Directions:

Make Ener-G egg.  Combine with milk.  Soak raw chicken in egg/milk mixture for at least an hour.  Mix flour, salt, sugar, and pepper.  After chicken has soaked, coat it with the flour mixture and press the mixture on.  Let air dry a few minutes, and then quickly dip the chicken in the milk mixture (one piece at a time) and quickly remove and coat in flour a second time.  Do this until you run out of flour.  It’s ok if they don’t all get coated twice- it just adds extra flavor and crunch :-).

Heat oil in a frying pan (about 1/2 inch deep).  When it seems hot, drop in one drop of water and stand back.  If it pops, then the oil is hot enough.  Put chicken in the hot oil and allow to cook on one side for about 7-8 minutes or until the outer sides of the top side are starting to look white.  Carefully turn the pieces over and allow to cook for another 5-7 minutes.  When you think it is done, take out the thickest piece of meat and cut into it to make sure it is done (no pink, it looks like it would be easy to shred, etc.)  Remove each piece of chicken and allow oil to run off it into the pan.  Place on a plate, oily side up so it won’t get soggy on the plate.  After removing all of the cooked chicken, cook your second round of chicken until all the chicken is cooked.

 

To serve, I made Pamela’s Bread Mix bread and added pickles to my sandwich to make it authentic.  My husband added a tomato to his to make it more colorful.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any lettuce around, so we put asparagus on the plate to make it colorful.

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