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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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.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

It is pretty hard to find protein in liquid form if you can’t eat dairy.  When I recently had oral surgery, I survived the first day on guacamole, soy yogurt, and applesauce.  I wanted to eat peanut butter but all I had on hand was chunky peanut butter.  A quick google search inspired this recipe.  The first time I made it, it was wonderful and I couldn’t wait to make it again.  The second time I made it, I added too much ice, so it was a little watery.  I plan to make it again soon and put even less ice in it!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 c. crunchy peanut butter (Skippy Natural)

3/4 c. crushed ice or 1 c. ice cubes

1 c. non-dairy milk (cashew milk was very nice)

1 banana, broken into 4 chunks

1 tsp to 1 T. honey

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the blender, starting with the milk.  Blend until smooth and all ice chunks are gone.  Pour into a glass and serve!  This made about 1.5 glasses of smoothie.

 

Adapted from original recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/221261/peanut-butter-banana-smoothie

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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Cauliflower and Potato Indian Curry

Sometimes I buy produce because it’s a good deal and then I get it home and it just sits there.  Does this ever happen to you?  That’s why I typically buy frozen veggies, but sometimes the sale price is just too good to pass up.  Usually the problem is that I didn’t have a plan when I bought it.  The upside is that this habit has led to me finding several new recipes.  In this case, the cauliflower was a good price as well as the potatoes.  After they sat around for about a week I decided it was time to make something happen with them.  This is the result.  It has been labeled a keeper by my husband and me. 🙂  The best part?  It is naturally everything free!

 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

2 T. coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans of diced tomatoes with juice, or fresh tomatoes, diced

1 c. water

1 can (14-oz) coconut milk

1 T. molasses

1 cinnamon stick

3 T. curry powder

2 T. ground coriander

 

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 large baking potato, unpeeled, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1-2 tsp salt or more

1/2 tsp pepper

 

Directions:

Brown the ground beef.  Melt coconut oil in a large skillet (I used a wok).  Add onions and garlic and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add 2 cans of tomatoes with their juices and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.  Add 1 c. water and can of coconut milk and stir.  Stir in molasses, cinnamon stick, curry powder, and coriander.  Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add chopped cauliflower and potatoes and cooked ground beef.  Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork (at least 15-20 minutes).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over rice.

 

I made the original recipe a long time ago, but this time I adapted it for the ingredients I had on hand.  Here is the original:

http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/166485/coconut-curry-lentil-stew-served-over-quinoa

Gluten Free Vegan Hot Dog Bun or Pita Bread

I had a really hard time getting a good picture of this.  It was dark outside so the lighting was good.  The bread worked really nicely as a wrap, but it wouldn’t stay around the hot dog without me holding it.  Plus, hot dogs just aren’t very photogenic.  Nevertheless, I am posting this recipe because it is the first everything free hot dog “bun” that I’ve ever had that didn’t disintegrate in my hand.  It worked really well hot out of the oven and then the next day it wrapped well after I briefly microwaved it.  The advantages to this recipe include it’s brevity, its ease, and its versatility.  I imagine you could use it as you would pita bread or flatbread- as a panini, pizza crust, pita, sandwich bread, bratwurst wrap, etc.  Also, in case you don’t know, there are tons of hot dogs out there that are gluten free.  This happens to be a Ball Park Frank.

Ingredients:

1 c. brown rice flour

1/2 c. corn starch

2 T. sugar

2 tsp xanthan gum (put the full amount in)

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

 

3/4 c. water

1 tsp cider vinegar

2 T. oil (I used canola)

2 eggs (I used 2 flax eggs)

White or brown rice flour for dusting

 

Directions:

Make the two flax eggs (2 T. ground golden flax seed and 6 T. water).  Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and stir well, eliminating any clumps.  Add all the wet ingredients including the flax eggs and stir well.  Use oil to grease two 8×8 pans.  Dust them well with white or brown rice flour.

Divide the batter between the two pans and use a wet spatula to spread it out until smooth on top.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until the bread starts to separate from the side of the pan and the top springs back to touch.

You may be able to substitute tapioca starch or potato starch for the cornstarch, but I haven’t tried that yet.

 

Original recipe:

http://2beglutenfree.com/gluten-free-recipes/gluten-free-flat-bread/

 

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This is how it looked when it was finished baking.

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Chicken Fajitas

Last night we had company over and shared this meal with them.  Their little daughter kept requesting the chicken. There really is chicken in this fajita.  I was in a hurry while taking the photo and realized later it wasn’t really visible.

I remember my mom making this and everyone in the family enjoying it.  The marinade itself is easy and you can add as many sides as you want.  You can half everything in the recipe if you only want to use 1 1/2 pounds of chicken.

 

Marinade Ingredients:

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp cornstarch

juice of 2 limes or 6 T. bottled juice

4 T. vinegar

2 T. water

4 T. oil (I used canola)

3 pounds chicken

 

Optional toppings:

Red and Green Peppers and onions (recipe included), Black beans, Rice, Salsa, Lettuce/spinach, Cheese or a substitute cheese, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Guacamole

Tortillas or chips

 

Directions:

Cut chicken into thin strips.  Mix all ingredients in the marinade and pour over chicken.  Marinade for at least 15 minutes, but I marinated it for about 7 hours.

While chicken is marinating, prepare other toppings.

Slice one onions, one red pepper and one green pepper and saute them on the stovetop in 2-3 T. oil.  (I used 2 onions, 4 red peppers, and 2 green peppers because we had several people over for dinner and I wanted to have plenty.)

While those are cooking, cook chicken in a separate covered pan with marinade until chicken is cooked thoroughly (white all the way through- about 20-25 minutes).

 

Notes:  I put the rice in the rice cooker ahead of time and had the beans in the crockpot all day.  About an hour before serving, I added a dash of garlic powder, 1-2 tsp salt, and a handful of chopped cilantro to the beans and allowed it to continue cooking.

To make preparation faster in the evening, I chopped the spinach and vegetables and such in the morning so that all I had to do at the end was toss the onion/pepper mixture and the chicken mixture into their pans and cook them.

I toasted the corn tortillas in a pan for a few minutes to make them pliable.

 

Grilled Skewers

What to do with a lonely red pepper that you bought intending to use it in tacos but you forgot?  Buy lots of other colorful companions with it and make kabobs!  My siblings were coming over for dinner and I couldn’t think of what to make, but then I ran across this recipe.  It has been labeled a keeper by all three guys eating it.  You can mix and match the veggies as you please.  I intended to add tomatoes and mushrooms, but I ran out of room in my marinade bag, so I made a chicken salad with them instead!

 

Ingredients:

8-12 skewers, soaked in water for at least 2 hours

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes (omit for vegetarian option)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 zucchini, sliced in coins

1 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 orange bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

Marinade:

1/4 c. canola oil

1/3 c. honey

1/3 c. soy sauce (I used Kikkoman’s gluten free soy sauce)

2 minced cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Begin soaking your skewers in water.  Cut all vegetables and chicken.  Combine marinade in small bowl and stir well.  Pour into a gall0n-sized bag.  Add cut vegetables and chicken.  Seal bag and turn several times until all pieces are coated with marinade.  Store in refrigerator 2-8 hours (I put the bag in a bowl to prevent leaks), turning several times to marinate all pieces.

Heat grill to medium heat.  Put vegetables and chicken on the soaked skewers.  Grill for 12-15 minutes.  At the very end we turned the heat up a little higher to give it that charred taste.  Make sure chicken is cooked (we cut a piece to see if it looked cooked).  If not, return it to the grill and continue cooking until it is cooked.  No salmonella, please!

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IMG_5155Original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8626/yummy-honey-chicken-kabobs/